ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell and Cyclyx in US Plastic Waste Project

21.10.2022 - ExxonMobil, LyondellBasell and Cyclyx International have agreed to jointly establish a plastic waste sorting and processing facility in Houston, Texas, USA, providing feedstock for both mechanical and advanced recycling technologies.

Described by the partners as the first of its kind and unique among plastic recovery facilities, the Cyclyx Circularity Center will leverage new technologies to analyze plastics based on their composition and sort them according to customer specifications for their highest and best reuse.

The center will be designed to produce 150,000 t/y of plastics feedstock and is expected to start commercial operation in 2024. Total investment in the project is estimated at $100 million, dependent on a final investment decision early next year.

“To help increase the overall US recycling rate and meet growing customer demand for circular products, more investment is needed by governments and industry to collect and sort waste,” said Dave Andrew, vice president of new market development at ExxonMobil. “With this new facility, we are making a substantial investment in plastic waste sorting infrastructure to accelerate our advanced recycling efforts in Baytown and along the Gulf Coast.”

ExxonMobil plans to build up to 500,000 t/y of advanced recycling capacity by the end of 2026 across multiple sites worldwide. It is a founding member of Cyclyx, formed with joint venture partner Agilyx in February 2021.

Set up as a consortium-based entity, Cycylx works with industry participants to increase the recyclability of plastics from 10% to 90% by getting the right feed to the right technology, creating a new supply chain for plastic waste. Its goal is to process more than 650,000 t/y waste plastic by 2026. Cyclyx CEO Joe Vaillancourt said the company is currently considering additional circularity centers on the US Gulf Coast, as well as other locations.

LyondellBasell is aiming to produce and market 2 million t/y of recycled and renewable-based polymers by 2030. The company announced a new organizational structure that took effect on Oct. 1, which included the creation of a Circular and Low-Carbon Solutions business in order to expand its Circulen renewable and circular solutions and accelerate development of scalable sustainable and circular technologies.

Earlier this month, LyondellBasell said it had agreed to create a joint venture in Germany with 23 Oaks Investments to build an advanced plastic waste sorting and recycling facility. The JV, Source One Plastics, will use renewable energy from wind and biomass to provide feedstock for an advanced recycling plant that LyondellBasell plans to build at Wesseling. The project will be the company’s first commercial-scale, single-train advanced recycling plant, designed to demonstrate its capability for further scalability.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist