Anellotech begins testing recycling technology for mixed waste textiles
Anellotech plans to begin advanced lab testing and scale-up for Tex-TCat. The Tex-TCat fluid bed catalytic pyrolysis technology recycles mixed waste textiles directly into the same chemical feedstocks (including benzene, toluene, and xylenes) that are used today to make virgin synthetics like polyester and nylon – providing a closed-loop, fibre-to-fibre solution a textile recycling problem.
Tex-TCat creates a path to turn mixed textile waste into secondary materials (BTX) instead of intermediates like pyrolysis oil. The technology involves no incineration or burning of waste feedstock. Lab-scale studies have demonstrated that Tex-TCat can process a variety of common textile materials that are incinerated or landfilled – including cotton, polyester, nylon, elastane, acrylic, and polyurethane as well as blends of these and other commonly used textile materials.
The fashion industry produces 100 billion garments each year. Although the call for circular fashion is increasingly urgent, 92 million tonnes of waste still end up in landfills. This waste is due to the lack of commercially viable recycling technologies for low-quality and mixed textiles as well as textile blends. While garments like 100 percent cotton or polyester are recyclable with legacy technologies, Tex-TCat complements mono-fibre garments as well as all non-recyclable blends and functional textiles.
Features of Tex-TCat
- Recycles synthetic and natural fibres as well as blends into valuable chemicals, effectively improving circular economics and lowering global greenhouse gas emissions.
- Plans to operate at scale with the first plant able to process ~200,000 tonnes per year, and subsequent plants as large as one million tonnes, depending on feedstock availability.
"Tex-TCat has the potential to divert large quantities of previously unrecyclable textiles from landfills and provide major brands, through their existing suppliers, with recycled content," says David Sudolsky, president and CEO of Anellotech. "The technology promises to be a key enabler of the textile industry's work to become more sustainable."
The development program's next steps include optimizing the feedstock preparation for efficient reactor feeding as well as additional lab studies that will lead to long-term trials in Anellotech's fully automated 0.5-tonne-per-day process demonstration plant.