BIOREX – YARN MANUFACTURE FROM CHEMICALLY RECOVERED PET AND FUNCTIONALIZED POLYMERS USING REACTIVE EXTRUSION
In recent decades, the environmental impact of synthetic polymers, coupled with uncertainty over crude oil prices and the depletion of fossil resources, is a source of great concern in society and the scientific community.
By the end of 2015, it was estimated that around 8.3 billion tonnes of oil had been used in the manufacture of polymers, resins, fibres and additives for different sectors. On the other hand, it was estimated that 6.3 billion tons of plastic waste had been produced, of which 12% was incinerated, 9% recycled and 79% went to landfill or ended up in the natural environment (Figure 1). In addition, according to current trends in production and waste management, it is expected that approximately 20 billion tonnes of non-biodegradable polymer waste will end up in landfills by 2050, with all its associated environmental problems (Rabnawaz et al.,2017)
Figure 1: global output, use and final destination of polymer resin, synthetic fibre and additives in millions of tonnes from 1950 to 2015.
In order to address the problem of environmental pollution and based on the principles of circular economy, the BIOREX project proposes two strategies:
- Using natural polymers as substitutes for traditional synthetic polymers.
- Chemical recycling of end-of-life products to obtain virgin polymers from waste.
The main objective of the project is to produce sustainable and functional yarns using the multifilament spinning process. To this end, polymeric matrices based on:
Polymers which have been chemically modified by reactive extrusion for the incorporation of functional molecules and/or nanoparticles in their structure (PLA, PHB and PP).
Chemically recycled PET.
In accordance with the objectives described, Figure 2 shows the general scheme of the BIOREX Project:Ff
Figure 2: an overview of the BIOREX Project.
The successful outcome of the BIOREX project will be a range of functional and sustainable multifilament yarns. The fibres will be based on polymeric matrices of different nature and composition, specifically:
- Biodegradable polymeric matrices chemically modified by the covalent incorporation of functional molecules and/or nanoparticles that improve their mechanical, thermal and functional properties through a reactive extrusion process. The main bio-based polymers used will be PLA, PHB and blends of the same.
- Polyolefins chemically modified by reactive extrusion for the covalent incorporation of metal alkoxides to improve their compatibility with natural fibres.
- Chemically recovered PET using a glycolysis depolymerisation process and subsequent re-polymerisation, which optimises and verifies the circular life cycle of the polyester.
This project is funded by the Conselleria d’Economia Sostenible, Sectors Productius, Comerç i Treball de la Generalitat Valenciana, through IVACE.
GRANT NUMBER: IMAMCI/2020/1
MORE INFORMATION IN THE NON-ECONOMIC ACTIVITIES PLAN
- Year: 2020
- Status: Finished
- Entity: IVACE