Circular Chemistry – Recycling technology for a better tomorrow

Sustainability is a requirement for industries around the world and one of the driving forces for the recycling industry. The recycling of plastic waste, used tires and end-of-life batteries – to mention a few – is the cornerstone of creating a sustainable circular chemistry. We are empowering you to create value from waste – to chemical recycling and beyond.

Reduce, reuse, recycle: Turning trash into treasure

Due to the rising consumption of plastics, tires, batteries and other material, as well as strict government regulations, there are ample growth opportunities in recycling. Let us leverage the potential to make a positive impact and establish a circular economy while diverting waste away from landfills and nature. Recycling not only makes the old new again, but it also saves energy, which means fewer fossil fuels burned and a reduced CO2 footprint. Siemens technology contributes to many projects already, in every recycling category.

 

 

Plastics recycling

Plastic is versatile, long-lasting, light and incredibly flexible. These properties make it suitable for all kinds of applications. The large number of different types of plastic, however, poses major challenges for recycling. The individual types have to be separated and then processed separately. That’s the only way to obtain an intermediate product that’s suitable for use as a raw material for new products. Mixed plastic waste can be broken down into its molecular components via chemical processes (cracking, pyrolysis, solvolysis, gasification). These can then be used as raw materials for new polymerization processes, in other words: new plastics.

Battery recycling

Recyling lithium-ion batteries (LIB) is strategically important for both production and environmental protection. The recycling process recovers key materials for battery manufacture, including high-purity cobalt, nickel and lithium compounds. This supports the development of an intra-European value chain for the production of powerful lithium-ion cells and batteries. At the same time, recycling creates a supply of lithium and cobalt compounds that has an impressive impact on the environment and on employment conditions in compliance with European legal standards.

Tire recycling

A state-of-the-art tire is a high-tech product. It’s made of a mixture of vulcanized rubber, textile and steel. When they’re delivered, tires are sorted based on size, type and age.

They’re shredded once the metal and textile components have been removed. Following a washing stage, the material is dried using centrifuges, and lighter components like paper are separated out. Next comes mechanical pre-treatment to create granulates, flakes or pellets. Then the material is melted to obtain new products by extrusion – a process known as mechanical recycling.

Raw material or chemical recycling uses a chemical process to break down the polymer raw materials in the tires into their original monomers. A further stage of polymerization creates new products from this material.

References

Chemical recycling converts complex waste by changing its chemical structure in order to generate raw materials, which can then be used to create raw materials. 

 

The path to circular economy is digital

The widespread use and rather short service life of plastics are not without problems. In view of dwindling raw materials and incalculable environmental pollution, we need recycling processes immediately that turn plastic waste into valuable resources. This would make a significant contribution to solving global disposal problems and establishing an efficient circular economy. Tailor-made solutions from modern automation technology and digitalization contribute to establishing climate and resource protection as cornerstones of a globally sustainable development.

Thermal recycling is a method that incinerates plastic and other types of waste in order to create waste heat, which in turn generates electricity and provides heat. 

 

Converting waste to energy

We continue to support the development of a groundbreaking green tech solution Home Energy Resources Unit, better known as HERU. The project converts everyday garbage – such as packaging, plastics and uneaten food – and uses pyrolysis to transform them into energy to heat water. The HERU is equipped with SIMATIC controllers – viewed as the brain of the device.

Mechanical recycling is a process that transforms used material into raw material. 

 

The perfect balance

For Bolder automation GmbH, it’s critical to use the right mix of new material and recycled goods in order to ensure cost-effective plastic production. To achieve an adequate weighing process and accurate measurement, the company uses our SIMATIC control systems. During production, they can ensure extensive diagnostics options such as controlling the weight course and the monitoring and the signaling of limits.

Primary recycling is when materials are mechanically processed to create similar products. 

 

Fully automated material handling

For its client Nawaplastic Industries, Rayong Engineering & Plant Service Co. increased the plant's productivity with a fully automated material handling solution based on our products. Powerful components such as the Advanced controller S7-1500, the compact decentral IO-system ET200 SP and Scalance X switches were combined with an efficient, robust and future-proof Profinet network.

Leading the charge

From engaging in discussions to providing critical technology, we are set to assist you in your sustainability efforts – for a better quality of life.

We are helping chemical plants in their efforts to achieve more sustainability and drive circular chemistry. From reducing pollution and reusing waste – Miguel Angel Fernandez, Siemens AG, shows how we are empowering you to create innovative and environmentally-friendly applications.

 

See the presentation

Miguel Angel Fernandez, Siemens AG, and Cloé Ragot, Plastic Energy, examine the steps needed to manage the plastic crisis. Watch their short discussion for insights into rising demand for chemical recycling technologies.

 

See the discussion

Martina Walzer, Siemens AG, talks about the Carbon2Chem project, which explores how smelter gases from steel production can be used to create valuable primary products for fuels, plastics, or fertilizers. Get a glimpse of how we are a key partner in this critical undertaking in circular chemistry and chemical recycling.

 

Read the article

For quantitative as well as qualitative measurements of exhaust gas, we offer a wide spectrum of products and solutions. Sonja Umbach, Siemens AG, shows how we enable you to comply with emission regulations – and to make a real impact for your business.

 

See the video

PARTNERSHIP

At your side to get things going

We want to contribute to a better quality of life and support solutions that boost sustainability. We offer true partnership, which may include sponsorship and financing. If you are looking for this kind of support, please contact us.

Driving the recycling industry towards the digital enterprise

 

Our innovative products and services deliver efficient processes, higher plant availability, and flexibility that help you to meet the demands of chemical recycling while also staying competitive.   

 

• Modular and flexible plants to realize plug & produce

• Holistic digital twin to achieve closed-loop optimization

• AI and data analytics to optimize R&D processes and enable autonomous plants

• Integrate workflows for production optimization

• Convergence of OT and IT with the help of cloud and edge computing

• Smart supply chain that optimizes logistics and traceability

• Cutting-edge technologies such as AR/VR to empower the digital worker

 

Let's talk to see how we can help you to transform trash into treasure: contact us.