Agilyx, ExxonMobil form Cyclyx plastic-recycling JV

Author: Al Greenwood

2020/12/11

HOUSTON (ICIS)--Agilyx and ExxonMobil have created a joint venture that will recover and sort waste plastic, the chemical recycling company said on Friday.

The joint venture, called Cyclyx International, will develop ways to aggregate and process waste plastics, preparing them for recycling.

Under an agreement signed by the two companies, ExxonMobil will invest $8m for a 25% stake in Cyclyx, Agilyx said.

In return, ExxonMobil will get priortised access to plastic waste for recycling projects that it is developing, Agilyx said. ExxonMobil will also get access to Agilyx's artificial intelligence platform. The two companies will work together to develop more technologies and techniques.

Agilyx said it will benefit from a royalty on all the feedstock flowing through Cyclyx.

Agilyx had created Cyclyx earlier to connect waste companies with chemical and mechanical recyclers. ExxonMobil is a founding member of the joint venture.

Cyclyx wants to attract other companies, which could include retailers, brand owners, waste-management companies, petrochemical producers and municipalities.

By 2025, Cyclyx plans to develop systems that can collect and sort 300,000 tons/year, Agilyx said. The company did not specify if the figure is in short tons or metric tonnes.

By 2030, Cyclyx wants to process 3m tons/year of waste plastic around the world, it said.

ExxonMobil said, "The agreement will enable the development of innovative solutions for aggregating and pre-processing large volumes of plastic waste to be used as raw material in recycling processes."

Collecting, sorting and pre-processing plastic waste has been one of the main challenges of recycling the material, whether chemically or mechanically.

Under mechanical recycling, waste plastic is cleaned, sorted and remelted. Sorting is critical, since different types of plastic can contaminate the recycled resins and compromise its performance.

Chemical recycling breaks down the chemical bonds in the plastic, producing feedstock that can be re-polymerised to form new plastics with properties nearly indistinguishable from virgin material.

Chemical recycling can handle mixed plastics and material that is too dirty or degraded for mechanical recycling. However, chemical recycling requires chemical plants.

Chemical recycling also needs some degree of sorting, since the chlorine in polyvinyl chloride (PVC) can react during chemical processes to produce harmful byproducts.

Agilyx has a plant in Tigard, Oregon state in the US, which relies on pyrolysis to convert waste polystyrene (PS) into styrene oil.

It recently listed its shares on the Merkur Market of the Oslo Bourse in Norway.