3CRA - Closing Carbon Cycles with Renewable Amines

Project: Research

Project Details


In this proposal, a consortium of knowledge institutes (wo, hbo) and industry aims to carry out the chemical re/upcycling of polyamides and polyurethanes by means of an ammonolysis, a depolymerisation reaction using ammonia (NH3). The products obtained are then purified from impurities and by-products, and in the case of polyurethanes, the amines obtained are reused for resynthesis of the polymer. In the depolymerisation of polyamides, the purified amides are converted to the corresponding amines by (in situ) hydrogenation or a Hofmann rearrangement, thereby forming new sources of amine. Alternatively, the amides are hydrolysed toward the corresponding carboxylic acids and reused in the repolymerisation towards polyamides.

The above cycles are particularly suitable for end-of-life plastic streams from sorting installations that are not suitable for mechanical/chemical recycling. Any loss of material is compensated for by synthesis of amines from (mixtures of) end-of-life plastics and biomass (organic waste streams) and from end-of-life polyesters (ammonolysis). The ammonia required for depolymerisation can be synthesised from green hydrogen (Haber-Bosch process).

By closing carbon cycles (high carbon efficiency) and supplementing the amines needed for the chain from biomass and end-of-life plastics, a significant CO2 saving is achieved as well as reduction in material input and waste. The research will focus on a number of specific industrially relevant cases/chains and will result in economically, ecologically (including safety) and socially acceptable routes for recycling polyamides and polyurethanes. Commercialisation of the results obtained are foreseen by the companies involved (a.o. Teijin and Covestro).
Furthermore, as our project will result in a wide variety of new and drop-in (di)amines from sustainable sources, it will increase the attractiveness to use these sustainable monomers for currently prepared and new polyamides and polyurethanes. Also other market applications (pharma, fine chemicals, coatings, electronics, etc.) are foreseen for the sustainable amines synthesized within our proposition.

Effective start/end date11/04/2310/04/27

Collaborative partners

  • Hanze University of Applied Sciences (lead)
  • Rijksuniversiteit Groningen (Project partner)
  • NHL Stenden Hogeschool (Project partner)
  • Wageningen University & Research (Project partner)
  • Teijin Aramid (Project partner)
  • Covestro Deutschland AG (Project partner)
  • BioBTX BV (Project partner)
  • CuRe Technology (Project partner)
  • Symeres BV (Project partner)
  • Recell Group BV (Project partner)
  • GF Biochemicals (Project partner)
  • Perstorp AB (Project partner)
  • ECORAS BV (Project partner)
  • TransitionHERO BV (Project partner)
  • Milling Company Europe BV (Project partner)
  • CiorC (Project partner)
  • ASQA Projecten BV (Joint applicant)