Huntsman: Recycling PET scrap into polyester polyols
Huntsman announced that in 2020, its polyols production facility in Kuan Yin, Taiwan, will begin to utilise the company's well-proven Terol polyols technology to recycle distressed PET streams to satisfy the growing demand from the regional PIR foam insulation market.
According to the company, its proprietary trans-esterification process enables the use of severely distressed PET scrap that otherwise would have been destined for landfills or found its way into the oceans. This way the company not only recycles low-quality PET scrap, but then transforms it into energy-saving polyurethane insulation – the most effective insulants available in the market, as measured by R-value, said Huntsman.
While any form of PET will suffice, since 2014 the company has used the equivalent of 5 billion 500 ml PET bottles to manufacture approximately 290 million lbs of Terol polyester polyols in Houston, TX, USA. These polyols are a raw material in the production of MDI-based polyurethane insulation products, which provide energy savings in residential, commercial and industrial buildings. They are a key building block for polyisocyanurate (PIR) boardstock systems and spray polyurethane foam (SPF), as well as pour-in-place applications, such as picnic coolers, entry doors, garage doors, refrigerators and freezers. These energy-saving polyurethane insulations benefit society by reducing the costs of heating and cooling homes and commercial buildings and prolonging the shelf life of perishable foods, said Huntsman.
Terol polyols are said to contain up to 60 % recycled waste. While all these polyols contain recycled content, six Terol polyols have been certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Environment. In 2014, the company became the first US polyester polyol manufacturer to receive the designation. UL verified Huntsman’s pre-consumer recycled, post-consumer recycled and renewable resource content claims by reviewing the company's manufacturing practices and raw materials sources.
In 2018, Huntsman acquired Demilec, a leading North American SPF insulation manufacturer and distributor for residential and commercial applications. A consumer of Terol polyester polyols, Demilec produces a full suite of closed- and open-cell MDI-based SPF formulations, and focuses on bio-preferred, renewable and recyclable products that reduce energy consumption through highly efficient insulation properties.