Maratek Environmental and GreenCentre Canada have teamed up to commercialize a solvent recovery technology that addresses this and other challenges, making the process more energy efficiency and cost effective, the companies say.
Maratek Environmental is a Bolton, Ontario-based solvent recovery and wastewater recycling company. GreenCentre Canada provides chemistry technology development and services to businesses and other organizations.
Under the agreement, GreenCentre will provide chemistry expertise and access to technologies developed at Canadian academic institutions while Maratek will design, engineer, manufacture and distribute equipment based on these technologies. Maratek will also provide insight into existing challenges faced by industrial companies in their efforts to recycle solvents, which are used in the chemical industry to produce a variety of products, including paints, printing inks, coatings, and plastics.
The first industrial challenge that the partners will address is the removal of water from solvents. This drying of solvents is a key requirement for the reuse of industrial solvents, which currently requires energy-intensive distillation or expensive molecular sieve technologies.
GreenCentre and Maratek are collaborating to commercialize drying agents developed by Prof. Philip Jessop at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. This technology, based on a “switchable” polymer material, absorbs water from solvents when exposed to CO2. Removal of the CO2 displacement triggers water release and the ability to reuse the drying agents.
In other efforts to make solvents more environmentally sustainable: companies are increasingly using biobased solvents, which will represent a $13 billion market globally by 2020, according to a report from Allied Market Research.
The primary drivers of market growth are volatility in crude oil prices, lower volatile organic compound (VOC) content and environmental sustainability. However, high production cost due to capital-intensive production techniques coupled with heavy research and development investments is the major barrier to market growth.
Photo Credit: industrial solvents via Shutterstock
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