Teijin Frontier launches chemical recycling technology for polyester fibers

Teijin’s technology is said to produce recycled materials equivalent to petroleum-derived polyester raw materials. Using a new depolymerization catalyst for the conventional bis(2-hydroxyethyl) terephthalate (BHET) method, spent polyester is chemically broken down and purified into BHET intermediate raw material before being repolymerized into polyester.

The production process is simpler than using dimethyl terephthalate (DMT) and ethylene glycol in a transesterification reaction, so recycling is achieved with less energy consumption, according to the company. He adds that the new technology also reuses resources such as wastewater, liquid waste and depolymerization catalysts.

Teijin Frontier will launch a pilot installation at its Matsuyama factory this month and carry out verification tests. It will also continue to develop recycling technologies to improve the quality of recycled polyester raw materials and reduce environmental burden. Aiming to realize a sustainable value chain for a circular economy, Teijin Frontier is working to establish a sustainable fiber-to-fiber recycling mechanism for polyester in cooperation with partner companies and consortia in Japan and around the world.

Compared to material recycling, which melts and molds used products, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles, DMT-based chemical recycling results in less quality deterioration from recycling, but its energy consumption is high. The BHET method is often used when recycling colorless and transparent PET bottles as new PET bottles, and its energy consumption is also lower than that of the DMT method, but there were difficulties in producing raw materials. high-quality recycled polyester raw materials because foreign substances, such as as dyes used for colored polyester fibers, could not be completely removed, resulting in discoloration of the recycled raw material.

Teijin Frontier, guided by its Think Eco environmental initiative, strives to improve its environmental value, including through eco-friendly factory management and the development of greener materials and products for applications ranging from apparel to industrial materials.

Last month, Teijin announced that it had developed a proprietary system to calculate the CO2 emissions generated by the company’s polyester fiber production processes and eventually plans to use the system for life cycle assessments. full life of its products.

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