Toray and Honda Collaborate to Advance Chemical Recycling for Automotive Sustainability
The two industry giants have embarked on a joint venture aimed at developing a cutting-edge chemical recycling technology tailored for glass-fibre reinforced nylon 6 parts recovered from end-of-life vehicles.
In a significant step towards achieving sustainable automotive solutions, Toray Industries has entered into a groundbreaking partnership with Honda Motor. The two industry giants have embarked on a joint venture aimed at developing a cutting-edge chemical recycling technology tailored for glass-fibre reinforced nylon 6 parts recovered from end-of-life vehicles. This pioneering initiative is poised to revolutionise the way we approach automotive recycling.
The cornerstone of this partnership revolves around the innovative process of depolymerisation using subcritical water—a technique that holds immense promise for the automotive industry. Subcritical water, characterised by its high permeability, dissolving power, and hydrolysis effect in resins, is water subjected to high temperatures and pressures. It stands out as a catalyst-free, additive-independent solution capable of depolymerising nylon 6 in a matter of minutes, yielding high-quality raw monomer material. By separating, refining, and repolymerising this monomer, the partners can regenerate nylon 6 that matches the performance of virgin material.
The implications of this project extend far beyond the realm of automotive recycling. Toray and Honda aspire to establish a decarbonised circular economy system that validates recycling systems not only for plastics but also for various other resources. As a significant step towards this vision, the two companies plan to set up a pilot facility with an annual processing capacity of 500 metric tonnes of raw resin, wherein they will conduct extensive validation testing.
The initial focus of this endeavour is to recycle used automotive plastic parts into identical automotive materials, specifically targeting engine intake system parts such as intake manifolds. Their goal is to develop depolymerisation and monomer separation and refining technologies by leveraging these components, with an eye towards implementing these techniques for recycling automotive resin parts by approximately 2027.
Looking ahead, Toray and Honda have ambitions to expand the scope of their chemical recycling technology beyond the automotive sector. Their sights are set on encompassing diverse applications, including apparel, films, and more.
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