Tokyo AEIS Co., Ltd., a joint venture with several other companies that can recycle 27,000 tons of waste polyester annually, is scheduled to start production in Kawasaki, Japan, in late 2003. AEIS also plans to issue a license for this technology. The company was developed together with the Purification Japan Center in Tokyo.
The product is high-purity ethylene terephthalate (BH ET), an intermediate for synthetic polyester resins. AEIS claims that its method simplifies the recycling process because the other method is to convert waste polyester to dibutyl terephthalate (DM T) and convert it to refined terephthalic acid for polyester production. In this process, the polyester bottle is crushed and washed, mixed with ethylene glycol and a proprietary catalyst, and depolymerized to BH ET at 200-220Â°C. Excess glycol recycling, the purity of more than 98% of BH ET is then recovered by molecular fractionation, yield of about 99.5%.
The company claims that after taking into account the recycling fees paid by Japanese polyester bottle manufacturers, the cost of this method is comparable to the use of fresh raw materials to make polyester.
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