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Fast Facts
Resource efficiency and circular economy
Country
Brazil
Funding period
01.04.2021 - 31.03.2024
Funding volume
1.535.230 €
Funding reference number
033R272A-E
SDG Beiträge
SDG Sekundärziele
Contact

Coordinator: RITTEC Umwelttechnik GmbH

Contact person: Carsten Eichert

Address: Feldstraße 29, 21335 Lüneburg

Tel.: +49 4131 408 5544

Email: eichert(at)rittec.eu

 

Project partners in Germany

  • Leistritz Extrusionstechnik GmbH, Nürnberg
  • Source One GmbH, Dalldorf
  • Technische Universität Braunschweig, Institut für Chemische und
  • Thermische Verfahrenstechnik, Braunschweig
  • Fraunhofer Institut für Chemische Technologie ICT, Pfinztal

 

Project partners in Brazil

  • Universität São Paulo
  • Deutsch-Brasilianische Industrie- und Handelskammer
  • Weee.do Ltda
revolBRAS

Collection of and resource recovery from PET packaging

The CLIENT II revolBRAS project aims to realise a business ecosystem that generates new revenue potential in the waste treatment of PET packaging on the basis of innovative revolPET® technology. revolBRAS will create efficient structures for informal waste management and harness additional potential by recycling previously non-recyclable PET waste. revolPET® technology is able to recycle coloured and opaque PET packaging as well as multilayer films. The recovered monomers generate 60% less CO2 than new goods made out of crude oil, without any loss in quality, and replace them in PET production. The project team aims to adapt the revolPET® technology to infrastructural requirements in Brasil.

A business ecosystem combined with revolPET® technology for efficient, technology-supported waste management

To a large extent, waste management in Brasil is driven by the informal sector, which exclusively collects waste fractions that guarantee revenue; formal structures also focus on valuable materials. When it comes to PET, this primarily means beverage bottles. However, PET is also used in other packaging, such as opaque packaging and trays for frozen foods. revolPET® technology can efficiently recycle this packaging, using it to produce PET monomers that replace monomers made from crude oil in PET production. Monomer sales will finance the collection and recycling of PET waste and thus strengthen waste management in Brasil.

The project team aims to adapt the existing revolPET® technology to infrastructural requirements in Brasil, developing sensors to measure PET levels in the feed stream to control the addition of reagents. The team further aims to develop and realise a process-integrated wastewater treatment system.

Recyclable material (here: mixed PET) thanks to the innovative revolPET® technology. © RITTEC/Mathias Mensch, borowiakziehe
Recyclable material (here: mixed PET) thanks to the innovative revolPET® technology. © RITTEC/Mathias Mensch, borowiakziehe

Technology minimises CO2 and generates income

The business ecosystem will optimise processes and the economy across individual system boundaries, by collecting and preprocessing valuable waste locally. The subsequent processing will be decentralised and conducted in different regions; the high-quality monomers will then be fed into central PET production plants. The resulting value chain can be optimised both at any step and as a whole.

The technical innovation is the sensor-based addition of reagents to the revolPET® process, with the aim of measuring the PET share in the feed stream online and thus optimising the addition of reagents. The project team will furthermore develop and realise process-integrated solutions, methods to process wastewater loads resulting from the revolPET® process as well as heat-integrating concepts. The overarching goal is to further reduce CO2 emissions in monomer production.

The two developments – business ecosystem and technology – will be conducted in parallel; in addition, the team will compile a complete life cycle analysis (LCA) to analyse and assess the ecological, economic and social aspects of the technology-supported system.

First process step: The mass after cutting up the PET. © RITTEC/Mathias Mensch, borowiakziehe
First process step: The mass after cutting up the PET. © RITTEC/Mathias Mensch, borowiakziehe

Model regions demonstrate potential

The business ecosystems will be implemented in model projects in the Brasilian federal states of Sao Paulo and Santa Catarina. One aim is for the University of Sao Paulo (USP) and Weee.do Ltda. to identify and bind further local partners – this includes cooperatives from the informal sector as well as recycling companies – to put the revolPET® technology into operation. With the support of Source One, Weee.do will coordinate the feed of materials into the ecosystem, while the USP will be responsible for conducting the life cycle assessment of the ecosystems with a focus on analysing the social effects, in cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology and the Institute for Chemical and Thermal Technology [Institut für Chemische und Thermische Verfahrenstechnik, ICTV] at TU Braunschweig.

Leistritz is developing the sensor-based feed stream analysis, which will allow optimised control of reagents in PET depolymerisation and thus increase the efficiency of the process as a whole. The project team will embed Leistritz’s technology into the next generation of revolPET® technology, which is being developed by RITTEC Umwelttechnik and the ICTV with a focus on obtaining monoethylene glycol as well as on process-integrated process water treatment.

The business ecosystems developed over the course of the project will serve as blueprints for the development and establishment of comparable solutions in developing and emerging countries. The technological developments that contribute to the revolPET® technology will expand PET recycling methods and with them, recycling options. The project aims to increase the recycling rate of PET waste and to contribute to improving the lives of the disadvantaged. The team will use life cycle assessments to analyse the project’s societal impact.

revolBRAS: Second roadshow in Brazil and first project meeting in Germany

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bei einem brasilianischen PET-Recycler. (Copyright: RITTEC 8.0 Umwelttechnik GmbH)
The company RITTEC 8.0 Umwelttechnik GmbH (revolBRAS project coordinator) was awarded as the winner of the Sustainability Open Innovation Program by the Brazilian brand manufacturer Lojas Renner S.A.. In addition, RITTEC organized a second roadshow to Brazil in November 2023. Furthermore, on 26th of January 2024, the first in-person revolBRAS project meeting took place in Germany. The new project partner HORIBA Europe GmbH was integrated and warmly welcomed into the project team.

SDG success story: revolBRAS

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Projekttreffen in Brasilien bei der Müllsammlergenossenschaft: Cooperativa Crescer //Project meeting in Brazil with the waste collector cooperative Cooperativa Crescer.
The revolBRAS project has been designed to ensure that the innovative revolPET®-technology has environmental, social and economic benefits for the region where it is being piloted in Brazil. It therefore covers the three pillars of sustainability and contributes to the achievement of several of the Sustainable Development Goals – most notably SDGs 1, 12, and 13.

revolBRAS: Additional funding, new international contacts and final results of the gravimetric study

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Abbildung 1. Beispiele von PET-haltigen Abfällen, die in Brasilien nicht recycelt werden können  © RITTEC 8.0 Umwelttechnik GmbH
The company RITTEC (project lead), Brazilian consultancy Circulagem and a Brazilian cosmetics manufacturer have received further funding to study the recycling of PET-packaging from the cosmetics industry. In addition, two Brazilian students will have the opportunity to travel to Germany as part of an international exchange programme to work on the revolBRAS project. Since the last update, the project has completed an extended gravimetric study with five Brazilian waste collectors’ cooperatives, with the results now available.

revolBRAS: First trip to the focal country

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Projektteam
The company RITTEC (project coordinator revolBRAS) won a start-up prize in September 2022. Part of the prize was a two-week roadshow in Brazil, organised jointly with the AHK- and DWIH-Sao Paulo in March 2023.

revolBRAS: First Results in the Field Study Extension with Waste Collectors' Cooperatives in São Paulo City

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Cooperativa Crescer
From mid-November 2022 onwards, the revolBRAS project team conducted an extended field study in Brazil with waste collectors’ cooperatives. The objective of the study was to collect data on the market potential of PET-containing waste. Five other “Cooperativas” participated in a gravimetric study to identify the PET content in the waste volumes in São Paulo City. The target materials were identified as PET-containing post-consumer waste which does currently not have any market value and cannot be recycled through already existing technologies in the country. After the month long training the waste collectors’ cooperatives began the sorting. First results of the study are already available.