Spain gets polyurethane foam recycling plant
Repsol will build at its Puertollano industrial complex, Spain’s first plant for chemical recycling of polyurethane foam, the main component of mattresses, sofas, and vehicle seats, among other uses. At the end of its useful life, polyurethane foam is one of the most difficult plastics to process.
The new recycling facility is expected to be completed by the end of 2022 and will entail an investment of approximately €12 million. Once operational, the plant will be capable of processing around 2,000 metric tons of polyurethane foam per year, the equivalent of 380 linear kilometers of mattresses placed side by side.
Repsol plans on using this circular economy project to produce circular polyols from recycled polyurethane foam. Polyols are one of the raw materials used to manufacture polyurethane foam, thus perfectly closing these essential products’ recycling circle and sustainability. Integrating this new recycling plant into the Puertollano petrochemical complex will ensure the quality of this circular product by allowing the maximization of synergies with the facility’s standard processes.
This investment marks yet another step forward in the company’s steadfast commitment to the transformation of its industrial area. It involves turning production centers into multi-energy hubs capable of generating products with a low, zero, or even negative carbon footprint. Repsol has already announced investments totaling €700 million in decarbonization and circular economy projects to be carried out through 2025 at the Puertollano Industrial Complex alone. This helps ensure a competitive future for the industrial facility.
In the words of José Luis Bernal, executive director of Repsol Chemicals: “The polyurethane foam recycling plant represents a chance to create new business models that reflect Repsol’s environmental commitment while also helping our customers meet their sustainability objectives and respond to the growing need to recycle and extend the useful life of our products.”