Plastics News - Show Daily - October 25, 2022 - 3

SHOW DAILY
Plastics News, October 25, 2022 * 3
Miranda Wang is featuring the
work by Novoloop in chemical
recycling at K 2022.
Plastics News photo by Caroline Seidel
Novoloop products
are being used in
running shoes from
Swiss athletic
company On.
praised as " a good thing " because
of the large amounts of energy required
in pyrolysis, refi ning and
synthesis, but Novoloop's process
skips these steps.
" What we've invented is a chemAt
Novoloop, chemists
take on the tech bros
By James Snodgrass
Urethanes Technology International
Think Menlo Park, Calif., and
you'll likely think of digital technology.
The city is famous for its cryptocurrency-hawking
tech bros and
its games development houses -
not to mention being home to the
online behemoth that is Meta (aka
Facebook and Instagram).
It's not a place you'd readily associate
with groundbreaking technology
for the chemical upcycling
of waste plastics.
The Novoloop story started some
years ago, when two best friends
at a Vancouver, British Columbia,
high school were on a school trip
to a waste transfer station. Miranda
Wang and Jeanny Yao were horrifi ed
to discover how much plastic was
not being recycled and how much
plastic was not recyclable.
The teenagers
vowed to do something
about it. After
high school, the two
friends went on to university:
Wang to the
University of Pennsylvania
and Yao to the
University of Toronto.
NOVOLOOP INC.
Hall 5,
Booth C05-06
Upon graduation, the pair reunited
to pursue their ambition,
forming their company, Novoloop
Inc., in 2015. What makes Novoloop
different to many chemistry
startups is that it attracted
the kind of venture capital usually
associated with data businesses.
Indeed, their fi rst backer, SOSV, is
led by Sean O'Sullivan, the pioneer
of digital mapping and inventor of
the term cloud computing.
" We're based in Menlo Park,
which is a little bit unusual for a
chemical startup, " said Wang, " but
the reason we are
there is because there
are a lot of people, a
lot of investors who
care about sustainability
and impacts,
and business as a vehicle
for doing good.
And so our company has raised
$25 million to date, and we have
over 30 employees. "
When Wang and Yao founded the
company, they were originally considering
using enzymes to degrade
waste. " But we quickly pivoted
away from that, " said Wang, " because
we realized how slow that
mechanism was. "
Novoloop's process is a way of
making the polyol needed as a precursor
for the production of thermoplastic
polyurethane, from the
waste polyethylene. Chemical recycling
of plastics isn't universally
ical upcycling technology which
starts with an oxidation. It's called
ATOD, which stands for accelerated
thermal oxidative decomposition,
which essentially breaks
apart the polyethylene on a molecular
level, " Wang said.
" And it's not pyrolysis; it's not gasifi
cation. It's an oxidation process
that we've invented independently.
And this technology breaks the
carbon-carbon bonds and creates
dicarboxylic acids. And what we do
with that is we then build it back up,
but this time not back to a polyethylene,
but into TPU. "
The process after ATOD is relatively
similar to what's done in
the industry today: The dicarboxylic
acids are turned into a polyol,
which is then reacted with a diisocyanate
to form the TPU.
But it is ATOD - or " secret
sauce, " as Wang terms it - that
makes the conversion special because,
she claims, it is easier and
less energy-intensive to make
polyols from waste polyethylene
than it is to make polyols from the
usual raw materials.
" Normally a dicarboxylic acid,
if it's made from a butane source,
for example, would take many
steps of chemistry - at least three
steps of synthesis and cleanup in
between, " said Wang.
" In our case, we make the dicarboxylic
acid in one step of chemistry,
from polyethylene trash. So we
actually have a shorter process,
which is why this product has a
smaller carbon footprint, compared
with virgin TPU. "
The phrase " virgin TPU " is used
in the traditional sense because,
Wang insists, the TPU made by Novoloop's
process is a virgin TPU.
It has not been reprocessed or
recycled; it is freshly made from
a reaction of polyol and diisocyanate,
just like any other TPU. The
material isn't entirely from recycled
sources, however, as the diisocyanates
used still come from
traditional fossil fuel sources - at
least for the time being.
Novoloop announced at K 2022
that the Switzerland-based shoe
brand On is using Novoloop's TPU
on the outsole of its new Cloudprime
running shoes. If other,
more mainstream, brands were
to follow, it could kick-start the
sluggish recycling of polyethylene
fi lms. Wang estimates that only 5
percent of PE fi lm is recycled in
the U.S., with similar numbers internationally.
Wang
said: " We're going to be
buying it, right? When we are scaled
up and sourcing, we're actually going
to put a price on [waste PE fi lm].
It will increase the market size for
scrap and help the waste recovery
facilities actually make money out
of that material. Today they have
to pay to landfi ll it because not
enough people are taking it. "
Evonik Next Generation portfolio replacing conventional products
By Sarah Kominek
Plastics News Staff
Evonik Industries AG showcased
its Next Generation brand
of sustainable high-performance
polymers at K 2022. The performance
additives are based on
renewable raw materials and will
eventually replace less sustainable
products.
The Essen, Germany-based
company is investing $2.9 billion
(€3 billion) by 2030 in the effort
to transform its portfolio.
" This is an ongoing process. We
are switching our portfolio from
the conventional one to the new, " Janusz
Berger, head of market communications,
told Plastics News.
Products include high-performance
polymers, specialty fl ame
retardant additives, resource
saving and eco-friendly silicas
and silane solutions.
Evonik is taking a
holistic view of sustainability,
he said,
by avoiding common
climate-science misconceptions.
" Bio-based
materials
does not always
mean it's good for nature, " Berger
said, adding that land and water
use can negatively impact the
environment.
Through renewable
energy and recyclable or renewable
feedstocks, he said, the
" mass balance approach " helps
Evonik to " keep a balance between
all the different aspects. "
Evonik's nylon 12 for 3D printing
is now reusable, Berger said: " Only
material which is used for the 3D
printed part is used and the rest of
the material ... can be reused. "
The company is also explorEVONIK
INDUSTRIES
AG
Hall 6,
Booth B28
ing and encourage
customers to take a
" design for recycling
approach, " he said.
" The whole Evonik
company is looking
rials, " he said. " How
to collect them, how to bring
them into recycling processes. "
The Next Generation brand
includes solutions for enhancing
plastic recycling including
processing additives for defoaming,
wetting,
company is looking
for end-of-life opportunities
for our materials, "
he said. " How
for end-of-life opportunities
for our mateket
for virgin plastics, so it was
vital for us to leverage our expertise
to develop new solutions like
our eCO grade products based
on circular feedstocks, " Ralf Düssel,
head of the high performance
polymers business line, said in
the release.
" We sit at the center of so many
de-inking,
de-labeling and odor control, a
news release said.
Evonik's additives are cost-effective
for mechanical recycling
and improve the quality of recyclate,
it said.
" Demand for circular plastics is
now growing faster than the mardifferent
industry value chains,
so our goal is to help transform
these into smooth-running circular
economies to leave a sustainable
world for future generations, "
Lauren Kjeldsen, head of
the smart materials division at
Evonik, said in the release.
" We are switching our portfolio
from the conventional one to the
new, " said Janusz Berger, head of
market communications.
Plastics News photo by Sarah Kominek

Plastics News - Show Daily - October 25, 2022

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