Shell Joins Dutch Waste-to-Chemicals Project

06.03.2019 -

Shell has joined a consortium that comprises Air Liquide, Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals), Enerkem and the Port of Rotterdam to construct Europe’s first waste-to-chemicals (W2C) plant at Botlek in the Netherlands.

Marco Waas, chairman of the project and director of Research, Development & Innovation at Nouryon, said the project will be further strengthened with the addition of another leading global partner.

The Dutch energy and chemicals company will become an equal equity partner in the W2C project, which will convert up to 360,000 t/y of non-recyclable waste, including plastics, into 220,000 t/y of bio-methanol.

“Advanced biofuels, including those produced using bio-methanol, have the potential to decarbonize the transportation sector, in particular,” said Andrew Murfin, Shell’s general manager, advanced biofuels. “This is an exciting prospect given transportation accounts for one fifth of global energy-related CO2 emissions, and will continue to rely on liquid fuels, especially for long journeys and heavy-duty vehicles, for years to come.”

To date, the consortium has set up a dedicated joint venture company and undertaken extensive preparatory work, including detailed engineering and permit applications. It aims to make a final investment decision later in 2019 as it continues with development work and finalizes the selection of an engineering and procurement contractor.

The companies have not yet revealed a start-up date for the plant, which will have two production lines and use Enerkem’s proprietary technology. Air Liquide will supply the necessary oxygen with Nouryon providing hydrogen. Both Nouryon and Shell intend to purchase the bio-methanol output.

The project is expected to help the Netherlands realize its ambition to become virtually carbon neutral by 2050.

In separate news, the Dutch Public Prosecution Service has summoned Shell Nederland Chemie to appear in court over an explosion that occurred at its Moerdijk complex in 2014 and a leak of ethylene oxide at the site from November 2015 to January 2016.

Shell said it regretted the incidents and the impact on its neighbors and has since taken measures to avoid a repeat.

The case is planned to start in Den Bosch on May 14.