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Polytential

Problem

Recyclers who use separated plastic waste as input material face problems due to inaccurate separation (~95% purity), which is problematic as different plastic types do not mix well in production. To mitigate the negative effects of contaminations, recyclers use expensive additives and compatibilizers. Because it is not known what the contamination exactly is, recyclers are forced to overcompensate with these chemicals to ensure a sufficiently high material quality. Recyclers estimate that this overcompensation costs more than €15 euros per ton of plastic processed, whereas a small to medium scale recycler processes 1.000 tons per month.

Solution

Polytential provides the Virtual Chemist to recyclers. The Virtual Chemist gives recyclers real time insight into the composition of the material they process. This allows recyclers to optimize their compounding recipe which results in cost reductions of over €15 per ton, while increasing the overall quality of the resulting plastic recyclate. The Virtual Chemist combines state of the art hyperspectral sensing with a unique artificially intelligent algorithm to identify types of plastics and some of the additives and other chemicals contained within the plastics.

Uniqueness, Technology overview, barriers to competition

Current quality analysis technologies for plastics can be subdivided into 2 groups:
- suitable for lab use
- suitable for high throughput, with low accuracy

The Virtual Chemist has a high throughput but with laboratory accuracy. This is made possible by our artificially intelligent algorithm that processes the hyperspectral data. This allows to correctly classify plastics and some additives in the plastics, even when the material is wet, greasy or degraded (common for waste). This combination of accuracy and throughput enables recyclers to analyse representative samples of waste streams; thereby optimize production processes and guarantee a certain output product quality.

Market size and analysis

TAM:
20M tons of plastic is recycled annually (8.5Mt in Europe, 8.9Mt in Asia, 3.1Mt in USA). With an added value of more than €15 per ton, the TAM for plastic recyclers is over €300M. TAM of plastic waste separators (growth market), is estimated at over €1bn.

SAM:
The EU & US are targeted. Plastic recyclers: €175M. Plastic separators: €600M.

SOM:
Plastic recyclers: 13% of EU & US market; €23M annually
Plastic separators: 5% of EU & US market; €30M annually

Market grows 10% annually (Plastics Europe, 2016).

Competitive products:
Güt Stuttgart: sIRoPAD. (€30,000)
RTT System: Flakeanalyser (€150,000)

Traction

Prototype has been used by multiple clients for €200 per day.

Core Team

Team consists of 7 FTE, 6 of which are technical (TU Delft)
First Name Last Name Job Title Impressive Facts
Jeroen Cevaal CEO Communication virtuoso
Yuri van Engelshoven CFO Managed and budgeted 50 student employees during his study at TU Delft
Urban Avsec CIO Wrote first line of code at age 8. Published first peer reviewed paper at age 14.

Ask, use of proceeds, milestones

€450k will be consumed in 18 months time. 1-8 months: Transformation of prototype to first version of product, suitable for select group of early adopters (Integration of components, UX design). 9-18 months: Development of scalable product suitable for mass market (AI optimization, robustness (IP54), addition of modular features).

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