The company H & S Anlagentechnik GmbH, of Sulingen, has introduced an innovative chemical recycling process. In this manner a recycling polyol is successfully generated, which is once again suitable for immediate PUR flexible foam production
According to reports by manufacturers of raw materials, some 200,000 tons of flexible polyurethane foams (PUR-BWS) are produced each year in Germany alone. Through clipping in the production process, however, up to 30,000 tons of production waste accumulate annually as well for which, until recently, no successful direct recycling process existed. Nearly all chemical recycling processes are based on reactions for the splitting of the polyurethane, through which uniformly dangerous aromatic amines are released.
The company H & S Anlagentechnik GmbH, of Sulingen, has introduced a completely new approach with an innovative chemical recycling process: the reaction is carried out in the presence of polyols, like those commonly introduced in the manufacture of flexible foams. The splitting of the PUR-BWS waste takes place through dicarboxylic acids and/or their derivatives, whereby catalyzers start and accelerate the reaction. In this manner a recycling polyol is successfully generated, which is once again suitable for immediate PUR flexible foam production.
Economic and ecological advantages
As the costs for the recycling polyol are 35-40% lower than the market price for standard basic polyether polyols, the new procedure is also economically viable. The PUR-BWS recycling is ecologically persuasive due to the increased material efficiency and conservation of resources involved, since in Germany alone over 10,000 tons of traditional polyols can be replaced by recycling polyols. Since the commissioning of the world’s first industrial facility for its use in 2013, the process has come into large-scale industrial use.
This project was funded by the Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt (DBU). Read more: https://www.dbu.de/123artikel36027_2430.html