Technological watch

Catalyst partnership with German institute / Steps toward chemical recycling

Catalyst partnership with German institute / Steps toward chemical recyclingTo accelerate advances in chemical recycling of plastics and thus pay more than lip service to the idea of a circular economy, LyondellBasell (Houston, Texas / USA; plans to cooperate with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) in Karlsruhe / Germany. The two sides will work together to develop a new catalyst and process technology to decompose post-consumer plastics waste, such as packaging, into monomers and return its chemical content to the polymerisation processes.
Recently, the olefins and polyolefins giant, which has its official headquarters at Rotterdam / The Netherlands and French waste management company Suez Environnement (Paris; each took a 50 % stake in start-up Quality Circular Polymers (QCP, Urmond / The Netherlands; This company is working to drive development of high-quality recycled polyolefins from the mechanical recycling of sorted post-consumer waste streams ? see of 30.11.2017. LyondellBasell?s collaboration with the German research centre will be a major step towards realising the potential of chemical recycling, said CEO Bob Patel.
Though the idea was briefly floated two decades ago, among its other flaws chemical recycling did seem economically sound enough in the light of existing oil and petrochemical prices. In the background, however, the need for an efficient process remained. As LyondellBasell explained, the chemical side is complementary to mechanical recycling and is able to deal with multilayer and hybrid plastic materials, which cannot be easily recovered through mechanical recycling. With molecular recycling, current process technologies to produce clean feedstock for polymer production can be improved, the US-managed group asserted.
Massimo Covezzi, senior vice president of R&D at LyondellBasell, said the goal of the cooperation is to develop a highly efficient and clean plastic depolymerisation process that through catalyst innovation can convert plastics waste back into its chemical building blocks. Hans Leibold of KIT?s Institute for Technical Chemistry, said the research centre, which owns innovative technologies for the thermal conversion of complex organic feedstock, will be able to benefit from the chemical group?s know-how. By introducing LyondellBasell?s advanced catalysts into its own processes, the depolymerisation efficiency for polyolefin waste will be greatly improved, the German institute believes.01.08.2018 [240301-0]

Publication date: 01/08/2018


This project has been co-funded with the support of the LIFE financial instrument of the European Union [LIFE17 ENV/ES/000438] Life programme

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Last update: 2020-07-14