Bilfinger and Umincorp sign letter of intent for plastic recycling facilities

  • Partnership to construct several facilities for more efficient recycling of plastics
  • Bilfinger to execute engineering, procurement and construction
  • Innovative recycling process with 40% higher recovery of plastics

Industrial services provider Bilfinger and recycling tech company Umincorp have signed a letter of intent for a long-term EPC (engineering, procurement and construction) partnership. The aim is to jointly realize several plastic recycling facilities based on Umincorp’s new, unique and patented Magnetic Density Separation (MDS) technology. The Umincorp MDS recycling process has a 40% higher recovery of plastics and a 10% higher output quality than currently used recycling processes. After the successful commissioning of the first industrial-scale MDS recycling facility in Amsterdam, Bilfinger will now support Umincorp in standardizing their plant concept for international expansion.

“We are looking forward to collaborating with Umincorp in contributing to less plastic waste and better recycling”, says Wim van den Brink, CEO at Bilfinger Tebodin. “With our expertise, Umincorp will be able to quickly scale up the construction of recycling facilities around the world.”

The Dutch subsidiary Bilfinger Tebodin will execute the engineering, procurement and construction for the realization of the MDS facilities. The German subsidiary Bilfinger Greylogix will support them with their expertise in plant automation and process control in implementing remote control technologies in the recycling facilities to establish cost-effective maintenance solutions.

Jaap Vandehoek, CEO at Umincorp: “We selected Bilfinger as our EPC partner because they are a flexible and reliable partner with high quality and safety standards. They look beyond “just” providing a turnkey solution, but also take into account the smart operation and maintenance of the future facilities right from the start.”

The first project of Bilfinger and Umincorp will likely be a second facility in the Netherlands that is currently being developed. The joint project could be the foundation of the international expansion, establishing best practices for the design, engineering, procurement and collaboration with local suppliers. For example, installing pre-fabricated equipment modules instead of many separate pieces of equipment in the recycling facilities could help speed up their construction.

Bilfinger convinced Umincorp with their partnership approach: Bilfinger will team up with Umincorp to ensure the realization of all new facilities is within budget, time and the desired recycling quality through the correct application of their MDS technology. To achieve this, Bilfinger will utilize the capabilities of the equipment vendors and local partners as much as possible. The EPC partnership will enable Umincorp to focus on project initiation, R&D and operation. Based on the standardization approach, Bilfinger will continuously work on improving CAPEX and OPEX of the facilities.

Umincorp was established in 2012 and has brought the MDS technology to industrial performance levels, demonstrated in their up and running MDS facility in Amsterdam. In 2018, Ikea stepped in as a shareholder to further grow the MDS technology. The MDS and the Umincorp plant concept are available to the market through direct purchase or partnerships in targeted markets. To accelerate and further standardize the Umincorp plant concept, Balance (based in Amsterdam) successfully guided Umincorp through the tender process of selecting Bilfinger as EPC partner for the realization of multiple MDS facilities globally.

Yearly, around 300 million tons of plastics are produced on earth, representing a raw material value of more than $100 billion. Most of it is used for less than 15 minutes, as a large part of all plastics is related to packaging. After usage, around 30% of the plastic ends up in rivers and oceans – the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic each minute. Around 10% of the plastic waste is incinerated and 40% is landfilled. 20% is collected for recycling, but this is more downcycling, as only 5% of the recycled plastic really flows back into the economy as new raw material due to the low recovery and the poor output quality. Umincorp’s disruptive plastic recycling technology recovers 40% more plastics and the output has such a high purity that it can be used for packaging again.