Technip Energies announces the creation of Reju, a new firm specializing in the recycling of PET (polyethylene terephthalate) present in textiles (rPET). Reju will leverage innovative technology developed as part of a joint venture between IBM, Under Armor, and Technip Energies which brings global expertise in engineering and technology integration.
Industry sources added that the foundation stone laying ceremony for the Reju industrial demonstrator took place in September at the Technip Energies research center in Frankfurt, with commissioning scheduled for 2024.
Reju will address the rapidly growing global rPET market, with demand in the textile market expected to reach 20 million tonnes per year by 2033. This will be driven by industry commitments and targets for recycling, through regulation, and through increased consumer awareness of the need to reduce plastic waste.
Technip Energies, IBM, and Under Armor have been collaborating since 2021 as part of a joint venture to bring VolCat, an IBM technology that regenerates used PET packaging and polyester, to an industrial scale. VolCat enables the selective decomposition of polymers, initially applied by IBM to semiconductor lithography and the packaging of microelectronic products.
Industry sources added that Reju will utilize this technology for difficult-to-recycle polyester clothing and PET packaging now lost in the waste stream. Thanks to this technology, which acts as a molecular sorter, PET could be regenerated infinitely.
Arnaud Pieton, Managing Director of Technip Energies, commented: “To date, less than 1% of PET textile waste is recycled globally. This means that most textiles are sent to landfills when they could be reused repeatedly to make new clothing. When it comes to textile recycling, it is not the absence of demand that constitutes an obstacle, but rather the absence of solutions that make recycling profitable on an industrial scale. For the first time in this field, a unique technology with strong industrial capacity is directly associated with a company like ours, an expert in scaling up technologies to an industrial scale. Reju has the ambition to make textile recycling economically profitable, and we are proud to further expand our role as a pioneer of circularity.”
Arvind Krishna, CEO of IBM, stated: “The health of our planet is an emergency, and the amount of clothing and textiles ending up in landfills today is enormous. The good news is that technology can help meet this challenge. IBM is proud to provide its VolCat technology to help Reju advance sustainable textile recycling. We look forward to collaborating with Technip Energies and Reju to support initiatives like these that place sustainability at the heart of the global textile industry.”
Patrik Frisk, Managing Director of Reju, stated: “We have the opportunity to create a circular ecosystem for textile recycling and invite collaboration across the entire value chain, encompassing collectors and sorters, chemical companies and the clothing industry. By creating Reju, we are laying the foundations for an ecosystem that can transform the PET textile industry and bring us closer to a pollution-free world.