Jan Noordegraaf , jointly with Lein Tange of ICL-IP were founders and joint co-director of PolystyreneLoop Cooperative UA.
PolystyreneLoop is a unique Circular economy initiative, recycling EPS from construction waste. The process is removing a legacy chemical from polystyrene, by a selective dissolution process.
photo: Preparing for the general assembly 5th November 2017 in VOC costumes.
The main phases in the project are:
Phase 0 initiation
It all started with the awareness that a circular project was needed. This was already going back as far as 2003 when the EPS loop of Fraunhofer IVV project in which Synbra participated was started. HBCD material was supplied by ICL.
Phase 1 2015-2017 Awareness
Create awareness and set up a PolystyreneLoop foundation (Stichting) to generate money for the first conceptual engineering and creating a legal framework and apply for a LIFE grant.
Phase 2 2017-2019 Funding
Set up of a Cooperative ad a BV as entity for value chain cooperation.
Funding The PSLoop team raised 3,9 mil€ equity from its now 60 + members, ( below) plus bank loans of 7,5 mil to build the plant in Terneuzen: In 2021 a COVID-19 bridging loan of 1,0 m€. was successfully applied for.
An intensive phase with contact with all major banks , venture capitalist and a steep learning curve
It took 3 months of talking to get the funds form the above members and supporters.
Subsidies are a requirement
The team realised a 2,7mil€ LIFE subsidy.
Other relevant subsidies are WBSO SDE++, DEI+, REACT-EU and there are several more. A lot of practical experience was gained to access all kind of funding options .
The final product Loop-PS obtained 13,5% MIA 75% VAMIL status at the Dutch RVO list, a world’s first for a recycled polymeric material with recycle content
Phase 3 2020- 2021 Construction
After the completion of funding and the engineering a dedicated greenfield plant was built.
In a real team effort , we succeeded to realise all from scratch and have gained important experience in doing so. This in a time that everybody spoke about the need for a circular economy, but few activities were actually implemented with success anywhere.
Form an engineering team
Using the teams network an engineering team was formed with an extensive experience.
Incorporation of the treatment process in international waste framework POP-BASEL guidelines
Adherence for XPS processing with CFC’s emissions under to the Montreal protocol Inclusion in the Dutch waste framework LAPIII sector plan 85
A cross border waste notification system, find source of raw material.
Set up member agreements for the Cooperative, member accounts. Form a supervisory board from the general assembly, representing all sectors of the industry, realise take off agreements with the main users of the GPPS
HR , Administration and Insurances
Set up an administrative system , create a finance function , organise recruitment of staff and operators , join a collective labour agreement, obtain insurance for a difficult to ensure recycling activity. Close 100% green energy supply contacts.
Phase 4 2021 Start up
In the middle of the COVID pandemic the team started up the plant
Phase 5 2023-2030 Roll out
The replication model is in compliance with the pledge that EUMEPS has given to create a 40000 ton capacity in 10-15 years time.
After a difficult period in Q4-2022 with 10-folding energy prices and more money needed to finalise some essential investments, and an investor that withdrew, funds ran out on March 8th 2022 and unfortunately PolystyreneLoop BV discontinued. To complete the mission a new entity PSLoop BV may be created, that will have to try to continue the PolyStyreneLoop project. Thus targeting the recycling of HBCD containing EPS waste , as well as promoting the copy and paste of similar plants in Europe.
Replication potential identified in other material segments
The cooperative model has attracted interest from the clothes recycling branch, PVC flooring branch , the cork stopper industry and the PE processing industry.
The use of the process for WEEE and Automotive plastics containing brominated flame retardants is a huge prospect and as such it has been included in the Dutch National Growth fund (Groeifonds) , initiated by the NPPR , as part of demonstrator project D12.
PolystyreneLoop won the Blue Tulip Awards 2020 – Climate highlights.
And PolyStyreneLoop was runner up in the EZK 2021 energy award EZK Energy
Alix Reichenecker received the runner up prize
November 2021 Winner of the ICIS Innovation award for SME companies
#PolyStyreneLoop is the winner of the best Innovation by an SME as awarded at the live official ceremony today by ICIS during their well attended seminar. It confirms that #EPS is a well recognised insulation material known for its outstanding recycleabillity. The jury was impressed by the number of participants in the Cooperative and the fact that there is already a demoplant built to produce #LoopPS .