Ioniqa Technologies

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Ioniqa Technologies: IoniqaCircular

Year Founded:
Organization type: 
for profit
Project Stage:
$5 million+
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Ioniqa resolves the global PET plastic waste challenge! Ioniqa’s circular recycling technology produces virgin quality PET raw materials from PET plastic waste in an economical and clean way. Unprecedented Ioniqa is able to remove color from PET plastic with its process.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if all PET plastic in the world could be turned into virgin quality raw materials for the production of new PET, thereby reducing our dependency on crude oil with a low environmental impact?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

The problem of global plastic waste: More than 50 million (metric) tons of PET plastic is produced yearly, sadly we recycle only 10% worldwide. Worldwide millions of tons of PET plastics are wasted and end up in the oceans or are burned in incinerators.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

With Ioniqa’s game changing technology (a combination of Smart Materials and Separation Processes) any type of PET plastic is broken down in virgin PET raw materials. By removing the color, low grade PET feedstock is recycled in an economical way at competitive price levels. Ioniqa’s unique technology consists of a chemical PET recycling process with a magnetic separation process and (reusable) Magnetic Fluids as a catalyst with relatively low energy demand. The main product obtained from this reaction is a raw material, a monomer, which can be re-polymerised by the existing PET industry to obtain virgin colourless PET, the highest grade.


Rabobank (Herman Wijffels) Innovation Award 2015 for Circular Economy
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Current (mechanical) PET polyester waste stream converters can only recycle shredded PET flakes and only transparent into transparent PET and coloured PET into coloured PET - in the end a linear process. With producers of fast moving consumer goods pushing for evermore circulair transparent PET usage, a shortage in recycled 'virgin' PET is driving up the price of recycled 'virgin' PET. Ioniqa’s unique, patented process allows for recycling of alternative low-end feedstock into virgin feedstock raw materials. This not only allows for a better cost-base, but also addresses the scarcity of recycled 'virgin' PET. Ultimately, PET polyester products are fully recycled. Ioniqa delivers the technology to make this happen, worldwide.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

This highly efficient and economical technology turns out to be very competitive in the PET market and the missing piece in closing the loop to recycle PET products. Ioniqa scaled its process already by more than a 1,000-fold from Lab to 100-Liter demo-scale. It is targeting for 1st quarter 2016 year to reach 1,000L production level (equals kilo-ton scale per year), which is later followed by a fully operational 10 kilo-ton plant in The Netherlands.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Ioniqa's Magnetic Smart Materials and Separation Process is a platform technology. The current scaling up of Ioniqa's novel technology is focussed on PET plastics only but could be applied in the future to other plastics and organic materials as well. Ioniqa foresees that also fields like Food (for instance in separation processes) and bio-medical applications (or instance in drug delivery) could also benefit from it.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Ioniqa has secured 5M Euro funding with an investor, existing shareholders, including a (soft) loan of 2,5 million Euro by The Netherlands' Ministry of Economic Affairs.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

The main hurdle for mechanical recycling is that the different polymers present in thermoplastics are generally non-miscible or compatible with each other. Plastics, containing waste that cannot be sustainably and cost effectively recycled to the required standard, provide a valuable resource for other recovery solutions e.g. feedstock/chemical recycling and efficient energy recovery. Mechanical recycling is also unable to effectively remove colours. Customers require a high level of brightness that is not possible to maintain when mechanically recycling mixed collected feedstock.

Founding Story

Back in 2009 the CEO, Tonnis Hooghoudt, teamed up with a PhD student in Eindhoven (Netherlands). Thrilled by the potential of this technology and driven by an ambition to bring this to the market both knew very well that a fantastic technology in itself does not do the job. The focus was to scan the market for 'customer-problems' that could be solved using Ioniqa's technology. Ioniqa started its journey in Automotive sector, the real breakthrough in the end came a couple of years later in a different field: (circular) waste-management. Over the past four years Ioniqa has developed the underlying technology for PET polyester recycling.


Management team: Tonnis Hooghoudt, CEO, co-founder and shareholder (full time) Wim Das is (acting) CFO and shareholder (pt) Peter van Tilburg is (acting) CTO and shareholder (pt) R&D TEAM: Dr. Susanne van Berkum, R&D Chemist (ft) Dr. Sonja Castillo, Research Chemist (ft) Vincent Philippi, Chemical Engineer (ft) Stefano Piccinelli, Process Design Engineer (ft) Support - 2 Financial & administrative staff (pt) - 1 legal (pt) - 1 IT (pt) The R&D team is supported by a team of senior scientific advisor in the field of material science, colloid chemistry and process engineering. An average 6 students from Technical University of Eindhoven, Fontys, Hogeschool Zuyd, University of Utrecht and University of Delft.
Value Chain: Where does your work fit into the apparel value chain? [check all that apply]

Raw Materials.

Your Role: What is your relationship to the apparel industry? [check all that apply]

Factory Owner, Researcher, Supplier - contractor, Technologist.

Target Population: What stakeholder groups do you engage or empower in your work? [check all that apply]

Brands, Consumers, Corporations, Researchers, Sourcing Manager / Supply Chain Manager, Supplier - contractor, Technologists.

● Intervention Focus: What are you trying to achieve / influence? [check all that apply]

Environmentally Sustainable Practices, Recycling or Circular Economy.

Lever for Change: Select up to 3 ways your work is helping to transform the industry.

Standards, Technology.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Sustainability is Not Yet in the DNA: Fast Fashion’s Current Model Disincentivizes Value-Driven Economies.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Disrupt Business as Usual: Target Key Players Who Can Influence the Bottom Line.

Innovation Inspiration: When you first conceived of your project, did you think of it as applicable to the apparel industry?


If you answered "no" to the previous question, which industry was your project originally aimed at transforming?

● Replicating in the Apparel Industry: If your project didn't initially target the apparel industry, how are you specifically tailoring it to do so now?
Are you nurturing or inspiring others to be changemakers? If so, how?

Yes the whole value chain from PET polyester producers to Yarn makers to Brands to Ditributors to End-customers

● Tell us about the partnerships that enhance your approach. How have you collaborated with others in the industry to increase your impact?

PET polyester producers to Yarn makers to Brands to Ditributors to End-customers