Together with partners, Recell developed a method to isolate cellulose from various residual and waste streams and convert it into high-quality glucose molecules (sugars), which in turn form the basis for many chemical applications on an industrial scale. Among other things, they are used to produce bioplastics. In this way, cellulose-containing and discarded volumes from paper, cardboard, textile industries and from sewage treatment can be returned to the economy, even increasing their market value.
The chemical industry is looking for green alternatives for molecules that were previously mainly obtained from fossil sources “, says Recell founder and director Erik Pijlman. “For those alternatives, agriculture is often looked at, but there you get competition with food, not to mention the time, energy and emissions that such green raw materials cost to make.”
Stepping stone to large scale
The demo plant is now running on the site of the Noorderzijlvest Water Board’s sewage treatment plant in Leek. The fact that new building blocks can be made there from waste with the right quality for the chemical industry is a major achievement. “The appreciation of the green chemical industry strengthens our innovations,” said Yme Flapper, technical manager.
“This is the first time worldwide that so much green feedstock has been produced from cellulose,” says Ian Jordens, commercial director of Recell. “However, the potential is many times greater. We have mastered the technology so much that we can even compete on price with the alternatives. In the interest of greening the entire chain, we are working together with several chemical companies.”
For more information, visit Recell’s website.
Image at top, ltr: Yme Flapper (technical manager), Erik Pijlman (managing director), Ian Jordens (commercial director)/Recell