Technological watch

Ravago, Neste to build chemical recycling plant in Netherlands

Materials supplier Ravago SA and renewable energy firm Neste will work together to build a chemical recycling plant in the Netherlands.

In a news release, officials said that the plant at the North Sea Port in Vlissingen "is intended to be the starting point" of joint global chemical recycling activities.

The efforts build on technology developed by Akron, Ohio-based Alterra Energy. Both Ravago and Neste are minority investors in Alterra.

Officials added that through the project, Neste of Helsinki and Luxembourg-based Ravago plan to demonstrate and advance the commercialization of chemical recycling. The partnership combines Ravago's expertise in mechanical preparation of plastic waste with Alterra Energy's proprietary thermochemical liquefaction technology and Neste's expertise in the processing of hydrocarbons, they said.

The plant will have annual processing capacity of about 120 million pounds of mixed plastic waste, equal to the plastic packaging waste generated by 1.7 million people per year.

"The long-term hope of the partners is to significantly increase processing capacity on a global scale and continuously develop the joint venture into a global leader for chemical recycling of mixed plastic waste," officials said.

"We are truly excited about the progress of our joint project work," Ravago CEO Theo Roussis said in the release. "By fixing the investment location and scope, we are again one step closer to turning our dream into reality."

"Together with Neste, we have the necessary ingredients for a successful recipe to create scalable solutions, converting non-recyclable waste streams into valuable end products," he added.

Neste Executive Vice President Mercedes Alonso added that chemical recycling "has been a promising technology to accelerate the creation of a circular economy for quite a while…Now, it is time to take it to the next level and turn the promise into an industrial solution."

By combining the expertise of Ravago and Neste, Alonoso said the joint venture "has the means to rapidly implement the technology to start production at commercial scale."

"Our ambition is clear: To be a global leader in renewable and circular solutions," she added.

In 2019, Ravago and Neste had set a joint target of processing more than 450 million pounds of mixed waste plastic per year by 2030. Since then, the firms have evaluated technologies, the raw material market and built joint business cases to develop chemical recycling capacities.

In 2020, Neste successfully conducted several industrial trial runs with liquefied waste plastic at its oil refinery in Finland.

In July, Ravago bought an equity stake in Alterra. Ravago will supply pre-processed waste plastic to Alterra's Akron facility, where it will be processed into pyrolysis oil. The Alterra reactor at Akron has a nameplate capacity of 60 tons per day and is based on continuous liquefaction technology.

Ravago distributes, resells, compounds and recycles plastic raw materials at more than 325 locations across more than 55 countries worldwide. It employs 8,000 at 45 manufacturing facilities, including 19 recycling and compounding plants in North America, Europe, Asia and Africa with a combined annual capacity of about 1.7 billion pounds.

Neste makes bio-based hydrocarbons from renewable raw materials, such as waste and residue oils and fats. For waste plastic-derived feedstock, Neste focuses on plastics that cannot be mechanically recycled and have previously been directed to incineration and landfilling.

Late last year, Neste reached an agreement with DSM Engineering Materials to replace a significant portion of fossil feedstocks used to make DSM's high-performance polymers with feedstock from recycled waste plastics and/or bio-based hydrocarbons.

Publication date: 20/10/2021

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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