Saipem to Test Plastic Recycling Tech
Saipem reported Monday that it has signed a licence agreement to test a new technology for the disposal and reuse of plastics.
“Plastic recycling is an objective of great interest to Saipem, although further studies and technologies are required,” Mauro Piasere, chief operating officer of Saipem’s XSIGHT Division, commented in a written statement.
“However, we do not want to remain immobile while our seas and soils are being polluted by plastic.”
Saipem is licensing a plastic decomposition process called “flameless oxy-combustion” from patent owner ITEA S.p.A. to apply it in various settings. The company pointed out the process, originally designed for oil and gas applications, is well-suited for solid urban waste disposal – particularly unsorted plastic. It added that the process produces water, energy and pure carbon dioxide (CO2) which is not emitted into the atmosphere.
ITEA contends on its website the CO2 can be used in enhanced oil recovery and other applications. In addition to producing low-cost steam and electricity from waste, the technology can use other low-ranking fuels such as heavy oils, petcoke and coal, ITEA maintains.
A diagram from ITEA’s website illustrates the flameless oxy-combustion process.
“The process is very flexible, relatively simple and can be exploited even in small-sized factories,” Saipem stated. “It is hoped that, in the future, it will lead to a noteworthy increase in the percentage of recyclable material in a sustainable way.”
According to Saipem, flameless oxy-combustion also provides a solution for dealing with “Plasmix”: non-recyclable mixed plastics. The company explained the process offers the possibility of processing Plasmix with wastewater treatment-derived sewage sludge – itself a hard-to-dispose material.
“The widespread application of the oxy-combustion process could facilitate recovery of the precious energy content of waste plastics while avoiding their dispersion,” Mr Piasere stated.
“Use of this technology confirms our ability to adapt oil and gas technologies to new market demands and to support our clients by providing with solutions targeted at achieving greater sustainability.”