An important NEO GROUP’s patent
UAB NEO GROUP, a PET producer operating in Klaipėda FEZ, has received a patent from the European Patent Organisation for the technology of chemical recycling of secondary PET packaging developed by the company’s researchers and engineers. This achievement will strengthen NEO GROUP’s market position, contribute to the company’s and the entire PET ecosystem’s sustainability aspirations, and further enhance the image of Klaipėda FEZ as a centre of research, innovation and excellence.
The core of NEO GROUP’s invention, which has been under intensive development since 2019 and has been commercially applied since the beginning of last year, consists in the return to production and preparation of raw material flakes from collected post-consumer packaging by means of soft glycolysis. This technology already allows the production of new PET pellets to use around 25% post-consumer raw material without compromising the quality of the final product, and NEO GROUP intends to increase the share of post-consumer PET to 50% in the future.
NEO GROUP’s technology is unique in the world as it is one of the first commercially implemented chemical plastics recycling technologies on the market. Until now, the mechanical recycling technologies on the market have only been able to use extremely clean used packaging and have had limited ability to remove contaminants, impurities and other additives from the plastic.
Ruslanas Radaevas, CEO of NEO GROUP, says that the company’s technology contributes to the EU’s sustainability and circular economy ambitions in at least several ways. First of all, the invention allows the use of raw materials from used packaging in the PET production process and significantly reduces the amount of fossil raw materials. In addition, NEO GROUP’s purification and preparation technology will allow plastics to be recycled an unlimited number of times, opening the door to a truly circular economy. Finally, the PET raw material based on NEO GROUP’s invention does not require any new technologies, processes or investments in the customer’s factories – the sustainable pellets can be incorporated into existing lines, and the quality parameters of the resulting packaging will not be different from that of a conventional (primary) raw material.
“Thanks to our technology, we have already produced and successfully delivered NEOPET CYCLE pellets with 25% recycled content to customers. In addition, customer feedback has been excellent: the high quality of the pellets results in a final product with parameters almost identical to primary PET”, says Radaevas.
In addition to the research team, the NEO GROUP’s technology development is supported by a number of other specialists, including equipment operators, process control operators and engineers, and production support staff. According to Radajevas, the patent itself is a confirmation of the ideas, uniqueness and competence of the Klaipėda team at the highest level, and it will also allow the company to strengthen its market position.
It will become a business card
According to Eimantas Kiudulas, the head of Klaipėda FEZ, along with many other positive aspects, the achievement of NEO GROUP sends a strong signal to Lithuanian and foreign talents and investors.
“This patent is official proof that Klaipėda’s talents create and commercialise world-class innovations. I remember the beginnings of NEO GROUP very well – almost two decades ago, the company came to manufacture, but very quickly became convinced of the potential of our city’s creators and started to research and develop sustainable product technologies. So today’s news is the clearest proof that Klaipėda is the perfect combination of efficient production and the development of products or processes with the highest added value. Moreover, the case of NEO GROUP is ideally suited to Klaipėda’s clean and blue economy strategic directions,” comments E. Kiudulas.
According to him, Klaipėda FEZ has been actively working for some time now to strengthen science and business partnerships, to encourage talents to choose technical and engineering specialties, and develop various knowledge and competence exchange initiatives.
“The achievement of NEO GROUP becomes a kind of our business card. Young people will have an ideal illustration of engineering specialties and job opportunities in Klaipėda. For investors, the message is also clear – the company is generating production in the hundreds of millions of euros. With the help of the city’s talents, it is creating and commercialising unique technologies on the same premises,” says the FEZ Manager.