Spain-based AIMPLAS inaugurates new facilities to meet growing demand for R&D for a circular economy; site includes pilot plant for polymer synthesis chemical processes, research into use of CO2 as renewable raw material

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July 26, 2022 (press release) –

On 12 July, AIMPLAS held the opening ceremony for its new facilities, which have allowed it to expand its presence in Valencia Technology Park. The event was attended by regional and local authorities and representatives from the industrial sector.

The new facilities, funded by the Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness (IVACE) to the tune of 2.47 million euros, will allow the technology centre to respond to growing demand from society and companies to boost the circular economy through R&D&I. A total of 2,200 square metres for pilot plants, laboratories and work areas has been added, designed around environmental sustainability criteria from the outset. This is Spain’s first R&D building to obtain BREEAM certification.

These new facilities include a pilot plant for polymer synthesis chemical processes and research into the use of CO2 as a renewable raw material and will also be used to develop new chemical recycling processes and conduct research in the medical industry. This collaboration with the Valencian Department for Sustainable Economy, Productive Sectors, Trade and Labour, through IVACE, has been key to developing and consolidating the innovation model advocated by both entities.

According to AIMPLAS president José Luis Yusá, “Our activity and the commitment and financial support of these bodies that share our vision have allowed us to honour our commitment: to support companies in bringing innovation to the market and to offer eco-friendly products that improve people’s quality of life”.

He went on to say, “In the last year, companies that have collaborated with AIMPLAS on R&D&I projects received funding amounting to more than 55 million euros for innovation activities”. He mentioned that the technology centre’s impact on companies and society is detailed in its sustainability report, “which estimates the return generated by AIMPLAS’ activity at 13.7 euros per euro invested. In addition to the 250 R&D&I projects developed each year on a regional, national and European level, this calculation also includes more than 5,600 laboratory services carried out and more than 4,200 training hours attended by over 4,700 experts from nearly 1,000 companies”.

 

A reference centre in the recycling sector
During this event, one of the technology centre’s units was also inaugurated following a complete refurbishment project. This unit is divided into three different areas: a recycling pilot plant; a cutting-edge automated warehouse; and an area dedicated to generating R&D&I ideas. The ground floor of the unit has been fitted out as a pilot plant to carry out mechanical recycling activities, such as shredding, washing, separation and classification. This facility will help strengthen the Valencian Community’s position as a benchmark in the plastics recycling sector.

AIMPLAS director José Antonio Costa pointed out how boosting the circular economy is generating “many European, national and regional standards and regulations applicable to products manufactured using plastic materials”. According to Costa, this new model aims to “move away from the mindset of using and disposing things and adopt a model in which resources are used efficiently and waste is turned into resources in a closed, infinite loop, a model perfectly suited to the properties of plastics”.

Lastly, people attending the event both in person and via streaming had the opportunity to visit the new facilities and find out the results of the R&D&I lines developed by AIMPLAS to tackle climate change in line with circular economy criteria.

The new facilities have been linked by a footbridge with a unique design that reflects the hexagonal structure of a polymer. This metal structure with a micro-perforated PVC membrane coating has already become an iconic feature of Valencia Technology Park.

Commitment to the circular economy
AIMPLAS’ activity in the field of the circular economy last year was reflected in the 178 R&D&I projects presented, almost 1,000 technology services carried out and 40 training activities and workshops attended by more than 2,500 experts from almost 800 companies. Moreover, the centre has strengthened its commitment to the fight against climate change by registering its carbon footprint for 2019, 2020 and 2021 in the register of the Spanish Ministry for the Ecological Transition and Demographic Challenge. This voluntary registration is backed by a comprehensive plan for reducing CO2 emissions, including measures to promote the implementation of self-consumption solar panels and specific actions to foster sustainable mobility.

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