Re:Lab AB: converting research lab plastic consumables into carbon monoxide and hydrogen
Modern research laboratories use vast amounts of plastic - over 5 million tons of laboratory plastic consumables are produced each year world-wide. Unfortunately, almost none of it is recycled.
The Swedish company Re:Lab AB has developed a circular economy solution for this problem: a proprietary Low-Temperature Conversion technology that breaks waste lab plastic down into a syngas comprised of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. The project aims to prove that the technique works and is economically viable.
Re:Lab AB's technique uses gasification. This method of chemical recycling has traditionally been regarded as a non-starter because it is so energy-intensive, but Re:Lab AB has come up with a low-temperature approach which makes it feasible. What's more, their technique can be used regardless of whether the feedstock is mixed or contaminated.
Gasification reduces plastics to their most basic components (carbon monoxide and hydrogen). These components are in high demand in the chemical industry, which uses them to manufacture chemicals and plastics.
Their technology can be applied both as closed-loop recycling (plastics to plastics) and open-loop recycling (plastics to chemicals).
Re:Lab AB's project aims to establish a chain for converting lab plastic consumables into high purity hydrogen and carbon monoxide for chemical synthesis.
The project diverts plastic waste from incineration or landfills into a circular loop of recycling and reuse, thus avoiding a major source of pollution.