For cable networks, XLPE offers cost effectiveness and flexibility in installation. When used as insulation in low voltage electrical cables, XLPE boasts a better overall life-cycle impact than alternative materials: less of this lighter-weight material is required to provide top cable system performance. PE-X is deployed in a wide range of advanced polyolefin plumbing and heating pipes, and is particularly suited for coping with demanding environments. Compared to conventional materials, the inherent properties of crosslinked PE-X offer distinct benefits, including exceptional toughness, chemical resistance and durability at high temperatures. Up until recently, however, it was difficult to recycle XLPE or PE-X in such a way as to obtain the virgin-like PE required for these high-performance applications.
By drawing on its polymers expertise and recycling know-how, Borealis can now offer its customers a circular solution for crosslinked PE. In a series of tests conducted by Borealis, XLPE and PE-X plastic waste were pre-treated and fed into the Borcycle C chemical recycling process. This chemically-recycled material was analysed and determined to be suitable for use as cracker feedstock in the production of new ethylene in the manufacture of virgin-grade XLPE and PE-X.
The proprietary and evolving recycling technology Borcycle C transforms plastic waste streams into value-added products. These chemical recycling solutions complement mechanical recycling by turning difficult-to-recycle plastics – like crosslinked polyethylene – into virgin-level grade materials with the highest safety and performance characteristics.
Grades in the Borcycle C portfolio of circular polyolefins are ISCC PLUS certified according to the third-party mass balance methodology. This allows the customer to track and quantify the effective circular feedstock used at each step in the manufacturing process. When customers choose grades from the Borcycle C portfolio, they are replacing fossil fuel-based feedstock with an identical volume of circular feedstock without incurring extra switching costs, and – most importantly – while maintaining the same high application quality.
"True to our EverMinds™ mindset, we're proud to provide a long sought-after solution for XLPE recycling. Having pioneered the development of advanced insulation and jacketing systems, we are now making them more circular as well," says Bart Verheule, Borealis Global Commercial Director Energy. "As Borealis Energy celebrates its 60th year as a reliable and trusted partner to our customers and value chain partners, we intend to keep re-inventing essentials for sustainable living in both the Wire & Cable and Infrastructure sectors."