Consortium Plans Dutch Waste-to-Methanol Plant

21.02.2018 -

A consortium that comprises AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, industrial gases group Air Liquide, Canadian cleantech company Enerkem and the Port of Rotterdam has signed an agreement to build an advanced waste-to-chemical facility in Rotterdam, the Netherlands.

The facility will be the first of its kind in Europe to convert plastic and other mixed wastes into new raw materials, according to Enerkem, which will provide its proprietary technology to the €200 million project, as well as being lead contractor and an equity partner.

To be built in the Botlek industrial area, the plant will have two lines producing a total of 220,000 t/y of “green” methanol by converting up to 360,000 t of waste, which is equivalent to the total annual waste of more than 700,000 households and represents a CO2 emission saving of about 300,000 t.

Enerkem said the project will benefit from the port's infrastructure as well as synergies with Air Liquide for supplying the necessary oxygen and, together with AkzoNobel, the raw material hydrogen. AkzoNobel will also be a customer for the methanol output.

The agreement covers the initial investments worth €9 million, which include detailed engineering, the establishment of a dedicated joint venture and completion of the permitting process. The consortium expects to take the final investment decision later this year. A start-up date for the facility has not been disclosed.

"The agreement comes at a very appropriate time, given the current challenges in plastics recycling in Europe, said Marco Waas, director of research, development & innovation (RD&I) at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals.

The project is being supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy, which has agreed to develop mechanisms and regulations to help bring the new technology to full scale, as well as the City of Rotterdam, the Province of Zuid-Holland and regional development agency InnovationQuarter.