The Dutch start-up Ioniqa Technologies from Eindhoven was a finalist of the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge in 2016 and won €100.000. Ioniqa Technologies is the inventor of a circular solution for all PET waste in the world, based on a sound business case. We spoke to founder and CEO Tonnis Hooghoudt to hear about Ioniqa’s exciting recent developments, since participating in the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge.

How did you use the prize money from the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge?
“Any innovation runs on investments, so we were very happy to have won the prize money. It enabled us to further scale up our research and our demonstration plant in the port of Rotterdam. It gave an enormous boost to the next commercial steps. Besides the prize money, it was also the seal of approval from the Postcode Lottery Green Challenge that did a lot for us. All of a sudden, there was serious interest and consideration from the market. Investors respond very well to this kind of acknowledgement.”

Can you update us on current developments at Ioniqa Technologies?
“A huge accomplishment that we are very excited about is that we were able to close a purchasing contract with a significant global player in the market recently. It is too early to reveal further details yet, but this definitely paves the way for other parties to get involved as well. The demand for plastic is still increasing and about 90% of plastic waste is still discarded. Our invention offers the solution for one of the biggest challenges of today. We produce raw materials from plastic that has already been produced. We want to completely eliminate crude oil in plastic production and recycle the plastic that is already in our environment and thereby cleaning up the planet.

A major consumer brand recently also committed to use the recycled PET in one of their consumer products. Our solution for the recycling of PET plastics matches perfectly with the company’s sustainability strategy. Now, having a product in stores that is made of our plastics, gives proof to the market that it is actually possible. To be able to solidify that proof with the current contract will enforce our goals for the future.”

2 Ioniqa plastic recycling

Is Ioniqa planning to launch a fully operational production plant?
“Early 2019 we’ll open a fully operational industrial production plant and we will be able to start large-scale production. Volume is an important aspect if you want to solve a problem of the scale that we are facing. We will be able to produce 10.000 ton of competitively priced "virgin quality' material, 100% closing the PET loop.”

What are the challenges you are facing?
“Everyone is thrilled about what we do, producers as well as brands. But most potential clients prefer to wait-and-see. Producers are cautious; they will not change their supplier of raw materials just like that. It makes us all the more proud that we are now looking at a guaranteed off-take for 5 years, with the signed contract. And luckily for us, legislation imposed by the EU drives a higher usage of recycled waste across the board.”

Lastly, can you share your goals for 2018 with us?
“We have many goals for 2018! We would like to complete the investment round for the build of the production plant and get it operational. And, of course, we aim to expand the number of clients who will use our raw materials of recycled plastic.”