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Ground-breaking laminated recycling technology firm commercialises first site

By Joe Whitworth , 25-Oct-2012
Last updated on 25-Oct-2012 at 11:39 GMT2012-10-25T11:39:33Z

David Boorman and CTO Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox in front of Enval's pilot plant

David Boorman and CTO Dr Carlos Ludlow-Palafox in front of Enval's pilot plant

A revolutionary technology that enables the recovery of aluminium from laminated pouches will be demonstrated for the first time on a commercial scale by the end of the year.

Enval has chosen a site in Alconbury, UK which will house the commercial scale plant to showcase their patented process for the recycling of laminated plastic and aluminium packaging.

The technology, backed by Kraft, Nestlé and Mondelez International, claims to be able to offer a recycling route for plastic and aluminium laminate that has to date been unrecyclable and ended up in landfill or being incinerated.

The developer said it enables complete recovery of aluminium from pouches, laminate tubes and aseptic drink cartons.

Running by 2013

The site is expected to be up and running by the end of the year and be receiving materials and demonstrating the technology to the waste sector by early 2013.

It will be used to demonstrate the process to potential users in the recycling industry with further UK and European plants in the pipeline, with the hope of selling the equipment to waste handlers.

The firm estimated, based on waste handlers 16-hour five day a week rota, it could process 2,000 tons a year.

It is targeting laminated aluminium foil of six micron thickness or more but may move into the area of metallised polyester sometime in the future.

During the initial commissioning of the plant, Enval's Process will take material from commercial and industrial waste generated through the packaging supply chain before looking towards post-consumer waste.

It is the post-consumer waste, with its constituent product residue, that is the the primary target for this process, said Enval.

How it works

The microwave induced pyrolysis system is a continuous process for the complete recycling of laminate waste, including the 100% recovery of its aluminium content.

It separates the material into its constituent components, producing aluminium ready for introduction into the secondary aluminium supply chain and hydrocarbon oil that can be used as fuel or chemical feedstock.

The process is the result of a nine-year research project carried out at the University of Cambridge and it has already been demonstrated at a pilot plant in Luton, UK.

Enval has also provided life cycle analysis (LCA) for Unilever and GlaxoSmithKline, specifically looking at carbon footprint.

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