Closing the materials cycle for rigid polyurethane foams: This is the ambitious goal of the new pan-European “CIRCULAR FOAM” project. The EU-funded lighthouse project coordinated by Covestro, a world leading polymer company, brings together 22 partners from 9 countries from industry, academia and society. Within four years, they want to jointly establish a complete circular value chain for raw materials for rigid polyurethane foams used as insulation material in refrigerators and the construction industry. Once implemented across Europe, the system could help to save 1 million tons of waste, 2.9 million tons of CO2 emissions, and 150 million euros in incineration costs annually, starting in 2040.
Overall, the CIRCULAR FOAM project aims to bring multiple improvements to the existing material cycle and build a new sustainable circular ecosystem for rigid polyurethane foam: The project will not only focus on the development of two novel chemical recycling routes for end-of-life materials. It will also help set up and demonstrate corresponding logistics and waste collection systems, elaborate on dismantling and sorting solutions, as well as the design of future products and materials for enhanced recyclability.
The project concentrates on the recycling of post-consumer refrigerators and construction waste in several selected model regions. These include the industrial and coal-mining regions “Rheinisches Revier” in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany and Silesia in Poland, as well as the Greater Amsterdam area in the Netherlands. The case studies will elaborate a blueprint systemic solution with potential of replication in other regions. In this way, the project will also contribute to the Horizon Europe Mission of helping at least 150 regions across Europe to become climate resilient by 2030.
Prof. dr. Erik Heeres of ENTEG, professor in Green Chemical Reaction Engineering, is partner in this consortium funded by EU Horizon 2020 (grant agreement No 101036854). He receives EURO 650.000 to investigate chemical recycling of polyurethane foams (e.g. mattresses, insulation materials) by converting them into building blocks that can be used to produce polyurethanes. Technology development based on catalytic pyrolysis will be given particular attention.
For more information about the project: circular-foam.eu
Other partners involved: Covestro Deutschland AG as project coordinator, Interseroh Dienstleistungs-GmbH, REDWAVE, a division of BT-Wolfgang Binder GmbH, Unilin BVBA, Kingspan Research and Developments Limited, Electrolux Italia SPA, Circularise BV, BioBTX BV, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, Technische Universität Dortmund, Stichting Hogeschool van Amsterdam, Stichting Nederlandse Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek Instituten, Uniwersytet Ekonomiczny we Wroclawiu, Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule Zürich, Fraunhofer Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Angew. Forschung, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Gornoslasko-Zaglebiowska Metropolia (METR), Park Naukowo Technologiczny Euro-Centrum sp. z o.o., IZNAB Spolka z Ograniczona Odpowiedzialnoscia and DECHEMA Gesellschaft für Chemische Technik und Biotechnologie e.V
Four researchers of the Faculty of Science and Engineering of the University of Groningen (the Netherlands) have received an ENW-XS grant from the Dutch Research Council (NWO). These grants are awarded to encourage curiosity-driven and bold...
EIC Pathfinder grants are intended to support research teams in investigating or developing an emerging breakthrough technology.
What is special about these grants is that they come under the Global Challenges & European Industrial Competitiveness branch of Horizon Europe. This means that the technological application has already been considered.
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