CISUFLO: Last updates from Pilot 3

Recycling multi-layer polymeric materials remains a challenge due to their complex structure, composed of diverse polymer layers. This complexity hinders effective separation and often results in these materials being relegated to landfills or incinerators at the end of their lifecycle. Therefore, developing methodologies to delaminate or separate polymers from these multi-layer materials is crucial for enabling their recycling, offering a sustainable solution to manage polymer waste.

As part of the CISUFLO project, aimed at innovative recycling solutions for composite materials in flooring applications, the PolySep process emerges as a pivotal technology. Designed to achieve precise separation of polymers bonded to various substrates, PolySep aims at facilitating the delamination of multi-layer polymeric materials.

A significant milestone was achieved in the first quarter of 2024 with the installation of a container-based PolySep pilot line at Centexbel’s facility. This installation marked the start of rigorous validation tests to assess the practical effectiveness of the PolySep process across real-world applications, specifically in Pilot 3, focusing on carpet recycling.

Initial validation tests conducted with tarpaulins and broadloom carpets provided valuable insights and displayed potential areas for improvement in this process.  The results are reported in deliverable D1.5 – Lab-scale PolySep process, jointly prepared by PCE, EuPC and Centexbel, which will be submitted at M36. Since initial tests with tarpaulins and carpets showed that the line still needed improvement, the report contains only a limited number of experimental results from the PolySep line. In addition, theoretical insights are given into the combinations of materials used in the flooring industry, which can be separated.  The further experimental research on the output of the PolySep line was transferred to WP4.

The implementation of Pilot 3 will mark a milestone in sustainable flooring practices but also set a benchmark for environmental management in the industry. As the project progresses, continued research and improvements to the PolySep technology promise to enhance its effectiveness, paving the way for a more sustainable future in flooring applications.