Separating the inseparable: when recycling attacks complex materials

Some materials are complex to process and recycle. This is the case for wind turbine blades and PET (polyethylene terephthalate). As a precursor, SUEZ offers innovations to successfully separate the inseparable.
Wind turbine blades

Did you say wind turbine blades? Now we know how to recycle them!

In Europe, first-generation wind turbines are reaching the end of their life. It is thought that by 2025, nearly 800 wind turbines on average will have to be dismantled every year, including 300 in France. This means that nearly 8,100 tonnes of blades will need to be recycled per year. SUEZ now offers a solution for recycling and recovering blades which was previously non-existent!

To this end, SUEZ has studied a unique process designed to separate the different blade composite materials efficiently and effectively.

  • In the upstream phase, a sound wave system identifies each material contained in the blades and better targets it when cutting the blades.
  • A grinding process is then defined according to the nature of the cut pieces.
  • The ground elements are then sorted in a densimetric bath, i.e. any materials with a density lower than water float, while the others sink to the bottom of the tank. This process carried out at the SUEZ site in Norval (a recycling centre for mixed plastics and metal waste in Normandy, France) is used to separate the elements from electronic waste containing plastic.
  • Once the materials have been isolated, the resin and fibreglass are separated.
Thanks to this new solution, the Group can recover 99% of a wind turbine.
Parkes Circular Solution

Parkes Circular Solution, when chemistry pushes the limits of plastic recycling

By treating the nature of the material itself, chemical recycling will help to recycle waste that can't currently be recycled and which is incinerated or landfilled (trays, films, fibres etc.), and to produce recycled plastic equivalent in quality to that obtained from petrochemicals.
Parkes Circular Solution has been combining SUEZ, LOOP and SK GEO CENTRIC since 2020 in an industrial chemical recycling project for PET (polyethylene terephthalate), one of the most commonly used plastics in food and non-food packaging, found in water bottles, shampoo bottles and also in textiles in the form of polyester.

The aim: To meet the growing needs of the European market for recycled PET plastic, thanks to innovative recycling technology, "depolymerisation"; this involves the extremely fine separation of the plastic resins ("polymers") to isolate molecules ("monomers"). These molecules are then purified before being polymerised in the same resin.
100% recycled PET equivalent to virgin material
Operating at low temperatures, the technology used by Parkes Circular Solution makes it possible to obtain 100% recycled PET equivalent to virgin material, even from low-quality plastic, which can be used for food packaging and is infinitely recyclable.
Since 2020, Parkes Circular Solution has been working with SUEZ, LOOP and GK Solutions on an industrial project for the chemical recycling of PET.
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