Neste and Alterra in Chemical Recycling Collaboration

12.01.2021 - Finland’s Neste has taken a minority stake in Alterra Energy as the two collaborate to develop and license the US company’s chemical recycling technology. The size of the stake and financial terms were not disclosed.

The companies will work toward a global rollout of Alterra’s proprietary thermochemical liquefaction process, with an initial focus on Europe. The technology liquefies a broad range of plastic waste streams into a material similar to crude oil that can be processed and upgraded into high-quality feedstock for producing chemicals and polymers.

Alterra’s target is to start building a site in Europe during 2021. The company already runs an industrial-scale waste plastics liquefaction plant in Akron, Ohio with a capacity of 60 t per day.

Mercedes Alonso, Neste’s executive vice president for renewable polymers and chemicals, said the collaboration strengthens Neste’s ecosystem of partnerships aimed at accelerating the transition to a circular plastics economy. She commented: “This partnership also supports Neste’s aim of building new business growth based on chemical recycling, while marking another significant step toward our target of processing more than one million tons of plastic waste from 2030 onward.”

Last month, Neste announced that it had successfully processed 400 t of liquefied plastic waste at its refinery in Porvoo during the fall. This, it said, was equivalent to the annual volume of plastic waste generated by 20,000 European citizens, based on Eurostat figures.

Next steps will see the Finnish group gradually increase processing volumes, with runs being prepared for this year. Alonso said while there is still a lot of work to be done, the achievement is “a huge step for our industry toward turning hard-to-recycle plastics from waste to a valuable resource.”

Neste was supported in sourcing liquefied waste plastic for its first processing run by partner Ravago.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist