Fibres and Yarns | Sustainability

Anellotech Develops Innovative Recycling Solution for Textile Waste with Tex-TCat Technology

Published: December 20, 2022

Anellotech, a leading sustainability solutions provider, has announced plans to advance lab testing and scale-up efforts for Tex-TCat, a ground-breaking recycling solution for the growing problem of textile waste. The technology, which uses fluid bed catalytic pyrolysis, is the first to efficiently recycle mixed textile waste directly into the same chemical feedstocks used to make virgin synthetics such as polyester and nylon.

Tex-TCat represents a closed-loop, fibre-to-fibre solution to current textile recycling problems. It converts mixed textile waste into secondary materials known as BTX, bypassing intermediates such as pyrolysis oil. In addition, the technology does not involve the incineration or burning of waste feedstock. Lab-scale studies have shown that Tex-TCat can process a range of common textile materials that are often incinerated or sent to landfills, including cotton, polyester, nylon, elastane, acrylic, and polyurethane, as well as blends of these materials.

Each year, the fashion industry produces 100 billion garments, yet 92 million tonnes of waste still end up in landfills due to a lack of commercially viable recycling technologies for low-quality and mixed textiles. While single-fibre garments such as 100% cotton or polyester can be recycled using existing technologies, Tex-TCat offers a solution for all non-recyclable blends and functional textiles.

Tex-TCat has several unique features, including the ability to recycle synthetic and natural fibres, as well as blends, into valuable chemicals, improving circular economics and reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. The technology is also designed to operate at scale, with the first plant capable of processing approximately 200,000 tonnes per year, and subsequent plants capable of processing up to one million tonnes, depending on feedstock availability.

According to David Sudolsky, President and CEO of Anellotech, “Tex-TCat has the potential to divert large quantities of previously unrecyclable textiles from landfills and provide major brands, through their existing suppliers, with recycled content. The technology promises to be a key enabler of the textile industry’s work to become more sustainable.”

In the coming months, Anellotech will focus on optimizing feedstock preparation for efficient reactor feeding and conducting additional lab studies, leading to long-term trials at the company’s fully automated 0.5-tonne-per-day process demonstration plant. Anellotech is also seeking companies to join them in accelerating the development and commercial implementation of Tex-TCat.

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