Technological watch

BP, Sabic partner on production of certified circular products

BP and Sabic have entered into a new collaboration agreement at the integrated refining and chemicals complex at Gelsenkirchen, Germany. The two companies, both of whom have operations at the site, already have a long and established history of working together, which they are now expanding to include the production of certified circular products.

The companies aim to push ahead with the transition to a more circular economy through the use of oil derived from mixed plastics as an alternative feedstock to traditional virgin oil, thereby lowering the consumption of fossil resources by the petrochemical plants at the site.

Pyrolysis oil, derived from the advanced recycling of post-consumer mixed waste plastics, will be processed at BP’s Gelsenkirchen refining site and then used by Sabic in its Gelsenkirchen polymer plants to produce its Trucircle portfolio of certified circular products.

The final materials have properties identical to those of virgin-based polymers. The process demonstrates that plastics can be recycled over and over again, with no loss of properties or characteristics. After successful trials in December 2020, polymer production using the alternative feedstock started at the site early this year.

“Advanced recycling allows us to increase the production of more sustainable materials and use our planet’s resources wisely, whilst reducing the use of conventional approaches such as landfill and combustion. Advanced recycling has a crucial role to play in the current recycling mix as it can capture value from plastic waste streams that have traditionally been ignored or discarded,” said Fahad Al Swailem, vice president, PE and sales at Sabic.

BP and Sabic have collaborated for many decades at the Gelsenkirchen site, which is the starting point for the value chain of the chemical industry’s network in the northern Ruhr Area. The refining and petrochemicals site in Gelsenkirchen is an important part of the chemical industry in North Rhine-Westphalia. BP operates one of the largest olefin plants in Germany, with a production capacity of around two million metric tons.

“This is an important milestone in our vision of achieving up to 30 percent of our ethylene and propylene production from sustainable, recyclable raw materials by 2030,” said Wolfgang Stückle, vice president refining and specialities solutions Europe and Africa at BP. “It is a fantastic achievement on the part of the Gelsenkirchen team, after more than a year’s preparation, to set up the new initiative with our partners at Sabic.”

The certified base chemicals from bp and the certified circular polymers from Sabic are recognized through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification plus (ISCC+) scheme that certifies content and standards across the value chain from source to end product. The ISCC+ certification is based on the "mass balance" approach, meaning that for each metric ton of circular feedstock fed into the cracker and substituting fossil-based feedstock, a metric ton of the output can be classified as circular.

Publication date: 01/03/2021

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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