BASF sees tire pyrolysis oil as alternative plastics feedstock
Ludwigshafen, Germany — German chemicals and plastics producer BASF SE is investing in a fellow German company that specializes in waste tire pyrolysis, with an eye toward using pyrolysis oil as a feedstock for plastic resin.
As part of a larger ChemCycling project, BASF is investing close to $18 million in Pyrum Innovations AG, a Dillingen, Germany-based company that is in the process of expanding its pyrolysis plant there beyond its current capacity of 10,000 metric tons of end-of-life tires a year.
The deal includes BASF's commitment to buy most of the pyrolysis oil and process it into new chemical products using a "mass balance" approach, BASF said. The resulting products mainly will be for customers looking for high-quality and functional plastics based on recycled materials.
Part of Pyrum's business model is its intention to build additional tire pyrolysis plants together with interested partners, BASF said, a collaborative setup that will accelerate the use of Pyrum's proprietary technology in serial production.
Future investors in the technology can bank on BASF's pledge to buy pyrolysis oil to produce high-performance chemical products, thus serving to close the loop for post-consumer plastic waste.
BASF and Pyrum anticipate that production capacities of up to 100,000 tonnes of pyrolysis oil derived from waste tires could be built up within the next years together with additional partners.
"BASF is committed to leading the transition of the plastics industry to a circular economy," Hartwig Michels, president of BASF's petrochemicals division, said. "Replacing fossil feedstock through recycled feedstock at the beginning of the chemical value chain is a major lever in this regard.
"With the investment, we have taken another significant step toward establishing a broad supply base for pyrolysis oil and toward offering our customers products based on chemically recycled plastic waste on a commercial scale," he said.
Pyrum Founder and CEO Pascal Klein said the deal with BASF reflects a dozen years of hard work by his firm to gain market acceptance.
"We are confident that we will become one of the market leaders in tire recycling with BASF's investment," he said. "We can finally increase our tire recycling and oil production capacity and concentrate our efforts on making our technology even more performant."