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11-12-2020

Construction of the CreaSolv® PVC prototype plant has started

As part of the Circular Flooring project, a new CreaSolv® PVC prototype plant is being built on the premises of the Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging IVV in Freising, Germany. This plant is funded by the Bavarian State Ministry of Economic Affairs, Regional Development and Energy, the Fraunhofer IVV and by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and inovation programme through the Circular Flooring project (Grant-Agreement Number 821366). The process has begun in September 2020 with the construction of the surrounding building (cf. Figure 1). First pilot trials are expected to be performed in late summer/fall 2021 in order to prove the recycling capability of post-consumer PVC flooring waste.

Figure 1: Construction site at Fraunhofer IVV, Freising/Germany (©Fraunhofer IVV).

The plant is considered to reach a capacity of 15-20 kg/h and implements the whole CreaSolv® Process. This plant is intended to be used batch-wise rather than on a 24/7 utilization. The plant includes a dissolution unit for PVC waste, a course filtration unit for the polymer solution, a batch or semi-continuous extraction unit and a unit specified for separation of PVC from solvent as well as a drying unit for PVC recyclate. The CreaSolv® Process makes use of safe solvents, tailor-made for safe industrial operations and exhibiting low vapour pressure and high flash points. The engineering focuses on unit operations not yet available for PVC material at small technical scale. This includes e.g. the drying unit that enables powder drying to obtain fine PVC particles.
The construction progress of the plant building is proceeding as planned. The first step was levelling the ground for the foundation, which took place shortly after construction start in September. In October, the steel structures were erected and within November the walls and the roof were constructed so the building could be closed before the first snowfall. The upcoming steps will include the connection to the main building.

The CreaSolv® PVC prototype recycling plant at Fraunhofer IVV supports an ambitious, multidisciplinary and comprehensive technical approach to make PVC recycling industrially feasible in order to maximize the overall PVC waste recovery outcome and ensure that the sustainability potential of PVC is fully realized.

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