Neste, the Finnish producer of renewable diesel has joined forces with UK-based chemical recycling company ReNew ELP and Australian technology developer Licella in a development project to explore the potential of using mixed waste plastic as a raw material for fuels, chemicals, and new plastics.
In addition to studying liquefied waste plastic feasibility and sustainability as refinery raw material, the companies are also collaborating with the aim to facilitate regulatory acceptance for chemical recycling. The collaboration is one of the steps towards Neste’s goal to introduce liquefied waste plastic as a future raw material to fossil refining, with a target to process annually more than one million ton of waste plastic by 2030.
ReNew ELP is commencing construction of a chemical recycling plant in Teesside, UK, with a target to recycle end-of-life plastic to produce raw material for a range of petrochemical products. This will be the first commercial scale plant based on Cat-HTRTM technology, a catalytic hydro-thermal liquefaction platform developed by Licella over the past ten years. The collaboration also involves Armstrong Energy, who in a joint venture with Licella are leading the financing of the Teesside facility and global deployment of the Cat-HTRTM technology. Although the plant construction is not included in this collaboration project with Neste, it will nevertheless contribute to a common goal of enabling more efficient waste plastic utilization in the future.
“Neste has a strong legacy in refining, as well as raw material and pretreatment research, but we still need development of technologies, value chains, and supporting legislation for plastic waste based products to become a reality at industrial scale. I believe that this cooperation can accelerate the needed development and commercialization of waste plastic based products”, says Matti Lehmus, Executive Vice President of Neste’s Oil Products business area.
“ReNew ELP is very pleased to join this collaboration with Neste. Neste’s reputation as a global leader in the production of sustainable, high quality, low-carbon products makes them an ideal development partner for us. At ReNew ELP, we look to deploy our game-changing chemical recycling technology providing an innovative solution to the problem of plastic waste disposal,” concludes Richard Daley, Managing Director of ReNew ELP.
“We are excited to be deploying the world’s first commercial scale Cat-HTR™ plant
alongside Armstrong Energy. After 10 years and 75 million Australian dollars invested in the technology, we believe that the Cat-HTR™ is an important chemical recycling solution for the significant global challenge of end-of-life plastic. The collaboration with Neste and ReNew ELP will help to create markets for recycled carbon fuels and chemicals at a critical time as Europe pushes towards a circular economy,” says Dr Len Humphreys, CEO of Licella Holdings.
Forerunner also in bio-based plastics
Neste has two approaches to plastics with regards to circular economy. While exploring ways to utilize plastic waste as raw material, Neste is preparing to start commercial scale production of durable and recyclable renewable plastics from bio-based raw materials, such as waste fats and oils. A collaboration between Neste and IKEA is leading to a production of bio-based polypropylene (PP) plastic at a commercial scale for the first time in the world in the Fall of 2018.