New York Patent of the Month – March 2023

Plastic recycling has become a major concern worldwide, with over 350 million tons of plastics produced globally in 2018 alone. However, the chemical nature of long chain organic polymers and low economic returns have made plastic recycling a challenging task. With China’s ban on the import of waste plastics, the US has seen a drastic drop in its recycling rate to only 4.4%.

Anellotech, Inc. is reinventing the recycling industry with its innovative Plas-TCat™ process, which converts waste plastic into a mixed product of permanent gasses, light olefins, light paraffins, hydrocarbons, and coke and char. 

Anellotech’s Plas-TCat process, a catalytic fluid bed process, utilizes zeolite catalysts to convert polymer and plastic waste that would otherwise be sent to landfills or incinerators. Plastic mixtures with a high hydrogen to carbon molar ratio, such as polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene, can be converted to olefins and aromatics. The process involves a two-stage process where the plastic mixture is pyrolyzed anaerobically in the first stage, and in the second stage, vapor products of the first stage are catalytically reacted to produce olefins and aromatics. The end product can then be recovered and utilized.

The Plas-TCat process is highly versatile and can convert a wide range of plastics, including polyethylene terephthalate (PET), high density polyethylene (HDPE), polyvinyl chloride (PVC), low density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), polystyrene (PS), or mixed resins, and thermoset polymers. 

Founded in 2008, Anellotech is a sustainable technology company that has invented and is developing innovative technologies to produce cost effective, renewable chemicals and to recycle mixed plastics. Over the past years Anellotech has raised over US$80 million in cash and in-kind contributions to develop this patented Bio-TCat™ technology, an efficient thermal catalytic process for converting biomass into benzene, toluene and xylene, which are chemically identical to their petroleum-based counterparts. The process has been extensively demonstrated with loblolly pine feedstocks at Anellotech’s TCat-8® pilot plant in Silsbee, Texas. Engineering work to design the first commercial plant has been completed by Anellotech and its R&D, engineering and licensing partners IFPEN and Axens.

Are you developing new technology for an existing application? Did you know your development work could be eligible for the R&D Tax Credit and you can receive up to 14% back on your expenses? Even if your development isn’t successful your work may still qualify for R&D credits (i.e. you don’t need to have a patent to qualify). To find out more, please contact a Swanson Reed R&D Specialist today or check out our free online eligibility test.

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