Diaper Recycling Plant

Project Overview:

Client: (Confidential)
Project: Diaper Recycling Plant – Preliminary Studies & Pilot Plant Planning
Where: The Netherlands
IntES Services: Engineering Consultancy (Critical Discipline Engineering and High Value Non-Critical Discipline Engineering)

Project Background:

Adult Hygiene Products (AHPs) and diapers currently make up approximately 2 to 3 % of household waste. Most of this goes into landfill or incineration. As the majority of the components that make up diapers (excluding the human waste component) are not biodegradable then they will not decompose in a landfill. Although the waste heat from the incineration can be recovered and re-used, the burning of the diapers also produces greenhouse gases. All things considered, this presents a significant environmental problem.

Our client is looking into new, sustainable solutions for diaper and AHP waste. They have come up with a unique and innovative recycling process for diapers as a much more environmentally-friendly alternative. This recycling process produces reusable products from the diaper materials; SAP (Super Absorbent Polymer) materials that can be extruded from the waste to from a kitty litter product, as well as retaining the fibrous materials of the diapers which can be re-used in other fibrous products. The human waste from the diapers is also then treated on site before being sent to sewer for final treatment in waste-water treatment works.

To give an idea of the scale of this endeavor and the impact this new sustainable process could have, the market in the Netherlands for waste diaper recycling is approximately 300,000 tonnes of used diapers per year.

Diaper Recycling Plant FEL 1 Study & Our Project Approach:

With this being a highly innovative new process, our client engaged IntES together with our partner Haden Freeman Ltd to provide critical discipline engineering and high value non-critical discipline engineering. The initial FEL 1 concept design and costing provided our client with a high-level unrefined concept design and +/-50% TIC (Total Installed Cost); a process design model with sufficient detail to provide each engineering discipline with valid information for costing purposes. Working with our partners and collaboratively with our client’s team, this front-end loading activity examined all areas of the project including project management, process, mechanical piping and layout, electrical, control & automation, buildings & building services, health safety and environment, and quality assurance.

This successful study produced the all preliminary requirements for our client, from a high-level process description, 3D block models and process flow diagrams to logistics and utility reviews of two potential site locations in The Netherlands, health and safety considerations, masterplan equipment layouts and much more.

Diaper Recycling Plant Project – The Next Steps:

Following the FEL 1 study, our client needed to further prove that each of the recycling streams produced by the process can be suitably cleansed of all pathogens and pharmaceutical content. This needed to be achieved to the crucially meticulous specified levels in order to meet the standards required so the materials can be safely re-used. Our client engaged several technology partners to engage in lab tests specifically for this, and directed IntES to be further involved in the project with discussion around the construction of a pilot plant to prove the concept on several tonnes of diaper waste in the Netherlands, and produce a comprehensive validation plan.

To find out more about this project, please get in touch with our team in The Netherlands. Follow IntES on LinkedIn and Facebook for more updates about this project and others.