LCA chemical recycling PET waste with the Ioniqa process
For this screening LCA of the Ioniqa technology three different comparisons were carried out:
- Linear comparison from a waste perspective, analysing processing of 1 tonne of PET waste by Ioniqa and comparing this with mechanical recycling and processing by incineration in an average Dutch W2E plant. This method is in line with Dutch waste policy, as set out in the 3rd National Waste Management Plan (LAP3), for example.
- Multicycle comparison, modelling processing of 1 tonne of PET waste by Ioniqa over two processing cycles and doing the same for mechanical recycling. This method is also waste-oriented, but is more concerned with the objectives envisaged in a circular economy. It also considers how the waste from the product from the first recycling cycle is to be processed. This approach is cited as being an innovative LCA approach in LAP3 and dovetails more with the philosophy of the circular economy, which seeks to keep resources circulating as long as possible.
- Product comparison, analysing production of 1 tonne of PET by Ioniqa and comparing this with production of 1 tonne of conventionally produced PET from fossil feedstocks. This method assigns the environmental footprint to the recyclate that is ultimately made from the waste PET. This comparison is suitable for comparing products produced from waste, both mutually and relative to their virgin counterparts.
Both a 10 mtpa and a 50 mtpa installation have been analyzed. The 50 mtpa installation has a similar carbon footprint in the linear comparison and the product comparison as mechanical recycling. In the multicycle comparison the Ioniqa process scores better because bottles made from Ioniqa material are recycled again and again.