Neste in Waste Plastics to Feedstock Project

21.08.2018 -

Finnish oil group Neste, which in the meantime bills itself as world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, has kicked off a development project to explore the potential of using mixed plastic waste in refineries as well as to make starting materials for fuels, chemicals and secondary polymers.

Partners in the project are ReNew ELP of the UK and Australian technology developer Licella.

The collaboration is one of the steps Neste is taking toward establishing waste plastic as a future raw material in refining. The Finnish player said it hopes to conduct industrial scale trials sometime next year and, longer term, process more than 1 million t/y of plastics waste by 2030.

ReNew ELP is building a test plant for chemical recycling a Teesside, UK, where it plans to recycle end-of-life plastics to produce raw material for a range of petrochemical products. This will be the first commercial scale application of the Cat-HTR technology, a catalytic hydrothermal liquefaction platform developed by Licella over the past ten years.

A fourth partner in the collaboration is Armstrong Energy, which together with Licella is leading the financing of the Teesside facility and global deployment of the technology.

This plant will not be part of the project with Neste, but the oil group said it will “nevertheless contribute to a common goal of enabling more efficient waste plastic utilization in the future.”

Matti Lehmus, executive vice President of Neste’s Oil Products business area, said that while his company has a strong legacy in refining, as well as raw material and pre-treatment research, it needs technologies, value chains and supporting legislation for industrial scale chemical recycling of plastic waste to become a reality.

Backdrop for the recycling project is the European Commission’s plan to establish a circular economy. Legally binding targets established by the Commission call, among other things, for 50% of plastic packaging waste to be recycled up to 2025 and 55% by 2030.