Technological watch

Italmatch Acquires Waste-Based Phosphorus Process Technology

Italmatch Chemicals, a specialty chemical group focused on the production and marketing of performance additives for plastics, as well as those for water and process treatment, oil and gas, and industrial lubricants, has acquired RecoPhos Project Technology, including all licenses, IP, know-how and assets related to it, from Israel Chemicals (ICL). The aim is to further develop and complete a sustainable, highly efficient and economical viable process to recover phosphorus from all P-containing waste streams (sewage sludge ashes is one of them) to produce P4.

Phosphorus is a key raw material from flame retardants. Image courtesy of Italmatch Chemicals.

Italmatch Chemicals’ historical and current portfolio is strongly related to phosphorus (tetraphosphorus; P4) as a strategic raw material. Recophos Project technology (Recovery of Phosphorus) will open a new route to produce elemental phosphorus with the purest quality, out of secondary “waste” raw materials, contributing to reduce the consumption of natural phosphate ore, declared as critical and strategic raw material by the EU due to its limited availability in the long term future.

Phosphorus is a key raw material for flame retardants. RecoPhos Project technology aims to use recovered the element contained in ashes, out of waste streams, replacing mined phosphate rock, and fully complying with the principles of the Circular Economy. Sergio Iorio, CEO of Italmatch Chemicals Group, stated: “For Italmatch Chemicals, Innovation and Sustainability represent the key element factor for the company’s long-term success. Our roots, our history, our culture and guidelines, drive us to continue investing in research and development and innovative breakthrough technologies for the realization of projects that can contribute to spread and promote sustainable and circular business practices. Indeed this transaction, completely based on the concept of circularity of resources rather than exploitation of new ones, follows the recent acquisition of Eco Inhibitors that has allowed Italmatch to present to the market a new class of innovative “anti-agglomerate” products for offshore drilling, with high environmental compatibility, utilizing natural organic waste as raw materials, and replacing oil-based alternative products: another perfect example of circular economy.”

Maurizio Turci, General Manager Corporate & Group CFO, stated: “This transaction perfectly complies with the group development strategy focused on organic growth, research and innovation projects and new breakthrough technologies. As a specific example we have recently launched Beyond Innovation, an encouraging internal plan based on sharing and enhancing sustainable Project ideas, to increase and support the long-term Group future profitability and address innovation towards circular economy.”

Carlos Galeano, Beyond Innovation Project Director, stated: “This acquisition not only introduces a new way to treat waste streams containing phosphorus, but also transforms the way the industry will treat phosphorus-containing ashes in the future. With Recophos, Italmatch Chemicals aims to both offer a P4 with a considerably higher quality to the market and consolidate its global leadership in the high-tech industry.”

Publication date: 17/03/2020

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This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2020-07-14