Technological watch

Nova to boost recycling, cut greenhouse gas emissions

Nova Chemicals Corp. has embarked on an ambitious ESG (environmental, social and governance) campaign, with plans to invest as much as $4 billion on sustainable and circular projects.

In a phone interview with Plastics News, John Thayer, sales and marketing senior vice president, said the ESG program "is the most exciting thing that's happened" in his 26-year career with Nova.

"The industry and society at large is focusing more on the circular economy," Thayer added. "Nova has been a leader in responsible care for years, and [the ESG program] is a progression of that."

By 2030, Nova plans to generate 30 percent of its polyethylene sales from recycled content. Also by that date, the firm aims to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 absolute CO2 emissions by 30 percent and become a Top 30 company in Canada.

Scope 1 emissions are from sources owned or controlled by a company. Scope 2 refers to indirect emissions from purchased electricity, steam, heat and cooling.

By 2050, Nova intends to reach net-zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions.

To achieve these goals, Nova will invest between $2 billion and $4 billion to expand its sustainable product offerings, decarbonize assets and build mechanical recycling assets while exploring new advanced recycling technologies.

"Our customers really want circularity," Thayer said. "We've already started work on capital projects at some of our sites."

Nova will build on its Advanced Sclairtech technology to expand its product portfolio to include new materials, including Astute-brand polyolefin plastomers line. Officials said those materials will provide more options for sustainability-focused end markets such as electric vehicles and renewables.

Nova has already begun growing its portfolio of recycled and recyclable PE resins through its recent launch of Syndigo-brand recycled PE, which are made from circular polymers to encourage waste and emissions reductions.

Officials added that Nova "has developed a technical solutions-focused road map" for decarbonizing its asset base by improving energy efficiencies, electrifying and acquiring renewable power and exploring clean hydrogen as a low carbon fuel source.

The firm also has announced a virtual power purchase agreement with Shell Energy for renewable power. Officials said that agreement "marks the first of many opportunities" to increase low carbon, renewable energy in its power portfolio.

In a news release, officials with Nova in Calgary, Alberta, said that the goal of the program is "to drive the circular economy for plastics, in line with its vision to become the leading sustainable polyethylene producer in North America."

"Plastic products play an essential role in our daily lives," CEO Danny Dweik said in the release. "With our renewed purpose of reshaping plastics for a better, more sustainable world, we have developed a clear pathway to become a catalyst for a low carbon, zero-plastic-waste future."

Nova is one of North America's largest PE resin makers. The firm employs almost 2,500 worldwide and has annual sales of $3.6 billion. Nova is wholly owned by Mubadala Investment Co. of Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Publication date: 22/03/2023

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Last update: 2022-01-31