LyondellBasell is moving forward with engineering to build a chemical recycling plant at its site in Wesseling, Germany. The plant will use the MoReTec technology developed and proven by LyondellBasell with the construction of a chemical recycling pilot plant at its Ferrara, Italy, site, which begun operation in August 2020, and was further expanded to a small-scale industrial facility in 2021.
LyondellBasell announced in October that, together with Germany-based 23 Oaks Investments, it was establishing a new joint venture company called Source One Plastics. That company will build and operate an energy efficient, advanced plastic waste sorting and recycling facility in Germany, the output of which will provide a material part of the feedstock for the new Wesseling-based recycling plant. Using renewable energy from wind and biomass, Source One Plastics will have the capacity to process the plastic packaging waste generated by approximately 1.3 million German citizens per year - waste that today is largely incinerated.
LyondellBasell's proprietary MoReTec technology, described by Yvonne van der Laan, LyondellBasell Executive Vice President, Circular and Low Carbon Solutions as a ‘high yield, differential technology’, will enable polyolefin-based plastic waste to be converted, in a proprietary reactor unit, into pyrolysis oil and pyrolysis gas. This output will be used in the crackers, serving as feedstock for, amongst others, the production of new plastic materials.
“Solid process residues can be re-used or consumed in other applications, making this technology an energy efficient, zero waste process for the recycling of plastic waste,” she said.
The final investment decision is targeted for the end of 2023. Once green-lighted, the project will proceed, with the start-up of the German MoReTec recycling plant planned for the end of 2025, with a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year. The feedstock produced will be converted at the LyondellBasell Wesseling site into new CirculenRevive polymers for use in applications such as food packaging and healthcare products.