Foundation of Pyrum Innovations SAS by Pascal Klein, Michael Kapf, Julien Dossmann und Stephan Adams
01.2007 - 08.2007: The name Pyrum Innovations was born and the founders’ first meetings took place. It all started with the encounter of Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Klaus-Peter Schulz, developer of our technology. In the beginning, the founders met at co-founder Michael Kapf's house and thought about the chances and risks of founding Pyrum. In the end, we concluded that the opportunities were enormous and we decided to create a company.
09.2007: Foundation of Pyrum Innovations SAS in France (Pfettisheim). Pyrum SAS was supported by the French government and the region Alsace. On 3 September 2007, Pascal Klein (CEO), Julien Dossmann (General Director), Michael Kapf and Stephan Adams gave birth to the Pyrum project.
2008 / 2009
Construction and first test runs of the pilot plant in Dillingen / Saar
01.2008 - 07.2008: Pascal Klein and Julien Dossmann are in New York for their master's degree and communicate on a daily basis with the team members in Germany to coordinate the construction of the first pilot plant. The main activity during this time was the basic and detail engineering of the plant by Dipl.-Ing. (FH) Klaus-Peter Schulz and the partner companies.
07.2008: Pascal Klein and Julien Dossmann have successfully completed their master's degree and are back in Europe. At the same time, the actual construction of the pilot plant in Dillingen/Saar begins. The pilot plant was financed by private funds of the founders as well as funds from OSEO and the Région Alsace. Although the pilot plant was built in Germany, Pyrum nevertheless received an interest-free loan of € 140,000 from the French OSEO (comparable to the KfW) and the Région Alsace. The reason for this was the prospects of success and the more favourable construction costs due to an existing plot of land and an already existing production hall.
13.12.2008: Inauguration of the prototype in Dillingen/Saar with the presence of Adrien Zeller, President of the Région Alsace.
01.2009 - 07.2009: The pilot plant completed in 2008 did not function as expected. In the first half of 2009, the plant underwent numerous modifications and improvements until it finally met expectations in summer 2009.
08.2009 - 12.2009: Due to the proven functionality of our technology, several endurance tests had to be carried out with the system. Subsequently, test runs for customers began. One of our first cooperation partners and customers was the world's third largest bitumen producer Soprema.
Planning and construction of the first industrial plant with the help of financing partners
01.2010 - 05.2010: Many potential customers approached us and wanted to carry out test runs with our pilot plant. Most of these companies were global players in the tire, bitumen, plastics and fuel production industries. Due to the economic crisis, however, large investments in industrial plants were not possible at that time. In addition, it was required to first build an industrial plant in order to prove the functionality and output of the plant on a 1:1 scale. Conclusion: Interest in plant no. 2 was there. However, potential customers were reluctant to purchase Plant 1 due to the upscaling risks. So a decision had to be made: Either finish the Pyrum project or build a 1:1 industrial plant - with a budget of just € 300. The decision was made "Pyrum builds a 5.000 tons/year industrial plant". In retrospect a very naive undertaking, but with positive results.
06.2010 - 12.2010: The decision to build an industrial plant was made and the financing of the project was now the top priority. We contacted partners from OSEO, Région Alsace and the EU. Countless days followed during which the applications for funding were written and we travelled to Paris and Brussels. In September 2010, we received the approval of OSEO, Région Alsace and the European Fund for Regional Development for the planning and development of the first Pyrum Innovations industrial plant. The total amount of funding amounted to €420,000 and had to be backed up by €450,000 in third-party funding. For this reason, we decided in October 2010 to sell 5% of the company shares to private investors and raised the necessary funds within a very short period of time (2 months).
01.2011: The sale of company shares is suspended, as the necessary funds for the OSEO equity ratio have been raised. At the same time Pyrum Innovations hired new employees and opened a new location in Müllheim. At this time, four of our own and about 10 employees of our partner companies are working on the basic engineering of the first Pyrum Innovations industrial plant.
03.2011: EU Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger visits Pyrum Innovations and officially announces his support for our project.This visit has been a real mediatic buzz for Pyrum Innovations.
06.2011: We receive an official commitment from the EU regarding EACI funding for the construction of the first industrial plant. Thus, the financing of our project was almost complete: OSEO, Région Alsace and ERDF will take over the planning and development of the industrial plant and the EACI will support the actual construction of the plant with € 985.000. To finally receive the EACI funds, we had to prove a total budget of € 2.8 million (including subsidies). For this purpose, company shares were again sold to business angels.
09.2011: The first installment of the EU subsidies to our cooperation partners Stahlbau Schäfer, Korro Consulting, Saargummi and Soprema is paid out. Shortly afterwards, Pyrum Innovations receives the first part of the subsidies.
12.2011: After the expert company proTerra has examined the suitability for approval, a positive report on the construction project of the Pyrum Innovations industrial plant is issued. In addition, the city council of Dillingen approves the construction project. Now only the permit application had to be written and submitted to the State Office for Environment and Occupational Safety (LUA).
01.2012: The basic engineering has been completed and the detailed planning and the application for approval according to 4. BImSchG (German Federal Immission Control Act) has been started.
02.2012: The permit application is almost complete and about to be send to the approval authorities. We hope that it will be processed soon and that the permit will be granted in the short term.
03.2012 - 06.2012: The final questions from the authorities were answered and the permit application was officially submitted to the LUA. The detail engineering is taking shape and the first foundation plans including static calculations have been ordered.
10.2012: The building permit as well as the operating permit by the LUA have been granted and the construction work on the pile foundation is starting. Due to the height and weight of the plant (25 meters and over 300 tons), 4 piles with a depth of 15 meters each and a diameter of 1 meter were cast.
End of 2012: Due to the mild winter, we were able to complete the foundation work for the main tower of the plant. The other foundations (pipe bridge, cooling system etc.) had to be postponed to the following year.
2013: After the positive start of the construction of the plant, money shortages arose relatively quickly because the budget was generally too limited. Also the promised subsidies were always paid out with at least 3-6 months delay. This led to several construction stops in order to find further funds and to reconsider some planning details. In retrospect, these forced breaks were even advantageous for the technology, as the technicians had time to reconsider various aspects several times. Often potential errors were thus stifled. At the end of 2013, the plant looked finished from the outside. Inside, however, the entire pipeline construction, the electronics and sensor technology as well as the heart of the plant, the Pyrum thermolysis reactor, were missing.
2014: A year of many milestones. We have managed to build the entire pipeline construction, the reactor and the control technology in a tower that was far too small. In the end, over 550 sensors, almost 250 pneumatic valves, several kilometers of piping with over 1,200 welds and tanks with a total volume of over 40,000 liters were installed in a tower with a footprint of just 6 x 6 meters. All in all, the construction was a mammoth project that faced financial and technological disaster more than once. With a lot of courage, creativity and innovation we have achieved what nobody would have thought possible with a gang of "Youngsters from the Saarland" (Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung). On 24 December 24 2014 the construction work was completed and we could start with the TÜV acceptance in the new year.
2015 / 2016
Certification of the plant and start of operation
01.2015 - 06.2015: The acceptances of the Pyrum industrial plant in Dillingen/Saar were very extensive and were carried out by several testing bodies and authorities simultaneously. Among others the Pyrum industrial plant was approved by TÜV Süd, GTÜ, DEKRA, LUA, UBA, the fire department and many others. Several minor issues were found and fixed during this process. However, critical weak points were not detected. Thus, after completion of the lightning protection system and the fire alarm system, we were allowed to start operating the plant in June 2015.
06.2015 - 12.2015: The first test run followed quickly. In order to avoid dangers and damage to the system, the throughput capacity was initially increased gradually. The first test run was carried out with just 10% performance for a few hours. In the second half of 2015, a total of 8 test runs were carried out for a period of 1-2 days up to 2 weeks. Unfortunately, it was not possible to go beyond a throughput of 20-30%, because our reactor cooled down too quickly at certain points. After several small interventions, which did not lead to the desired result, we decided in October 2015 to plan a major reconstruction of the plant. The last months of the year were spent on financing and planning the reconstruction. Just before Christmas it was clear what had to be done and what it would cost. As a backup, external computing power was purchased from a university to simulate the heat development of the Pyrum reactor before and after the conversion.
01.2016 - 05.2016: Once the planning of the large reactor and the reconstruction of the control technology had been completed, the reconstruction began in March 2016. The biggest hurdle that had to be overcome was the very limited space in the plant, which was completely exhausted during the reconstruction. In May 2016, the conversion work was completed and the acceptance of the converted plant by the authorities and experts was carried out. Due to the experience of the first acceptance in the previous year, this time everything went much faster and easier. We were therefore able to start new test runs as early as June 2016.
06.2016 - 12.2016: The conversion work on the industrial plant showed its effects and we were able to operate the plant for the first time over a longer period of time at over 50% capacity. Now that the throughput had been increased, other minor problems that only became apparent during longer operation, such as filters that quickly clogged, had to be corrected. These problems were gradually resolved in the second half of the year with cooperation partners, bypass lines and new filters. In addition, we switched to a different type of pump based on the new experience. Parallel to the technical successes, the management of Pyrum could win a new investor. Since September 2016, the IBG Industrie-Beteiligungs-Gesellschaft mbH & Co. KG (IBG) from Cologne has been among the investors of the Pyrum Group. The largest single investment in the company's history to date, at a time when no large sums were needed for the construction of the industrial plant, enabled us to break new ground and expand our team.
Construction of a shredding facility and REACH certification of the pyrolysis oil
First half of 2017: With new funds the following projects were started:
- Construction of a 15,000 t/year tire shredding facility at the Dillingen/Saar site
- Construction of a new 250 m³ production hall to operate a coal grinding plant
- REACH certification of Pyrum products
- Optimization of the Pyrum industrial plant to simplify serial production
- Transport optimization of the individual parts of a Pyrum plant
- New logo and a new website
Applications for permits for the new buildings were in full swing and further optimizations were developed at the Pyrum industrial plant in Dillingen. Work was mainly done on new input materials such as CFRP and polystyrene as well as on the further processing of the end products of the Pyrum recycling process into new products. At the same time several Pyrum customers were in the starting blocks and were only waiting for the approval for own Pyrum plants. Current projects were in France (Brivé la Gaillarde, Strasbourg), Germany (Kaiserslautern and Munich), Indonesia (Jakarta), Congo, South Africa, China, Spain, South America and many other places in the world. In order to be able to handle this gigantic volume of work, Pyrum continued to look for new employees to strengthen the team of currently 20 employees.
07.2017: Since 1 July 2017 Pyrum is located in new premises. We still have the same address (100 meters next to our industrial plant), but our office space has been increased from approx. 150 m² to 350 m². We are now located on the 5th floor of the office building Dieselstrasse 8.
Change of legal form to Pyrum Innovations AG, Completion of industrial plant, Participation of BASF SE
2018: Change of legal form to Pyrum Innovations AG
2019: Completion of industrial plant
2020: Participation of BASF SE including obligation to purchase the pyrolysis oil obtained