PLASTIC ENERGY has agreed another partnership with an industry heavyweight – this time ExxonMobil – to build a facility that will turn plastic waste into chemical raw materials.
The partners have been developing plans since 2018 and say they will make a final investment decision in mid-2021 to build one of the largest advanced recycling facilities in Europe. If agreed, the facility is expected to be operational in 2023 and will be located next to ExxonMobil’s Notre Dame de Gravenchon petrochemical complex in France. Plastic Energy will build, own and operate the facility, which will initially have a capacity of 25,000 / year plastic waste. After that, a scaling to 33,000 is planned.
Plastic Energy has developed a process called Thermal Anaerobic Conversion, which converts old plastic that cannot be recycled back into a hydrocarbon feedstock called TACOIL. This raw material is then used to make fresh plastic or fuel. This helps create a circular economy for mixed, contaminated, multilayer plastics and those that cannot be mechanically recycled.
The process diverts plastic waste from landfills and incineration, and reduces the demand for crude oil. Plastic Energy operates two plants in Spain that have been in operation since 2014 and 2017. In January the company announced that it was working with SABIC on the design and construction of a commercial unit in the Netherlands. Last year the company partnered with Total to build its first plant in France and is currently exploring opportunities for Nestlé, including a plant in the UK. In 2019, a partnership was agreed with the state-owned energy company Petronas in Malaysia.
“This project with ExxonMobil is another important step towards a circular economy for plastics,” said Carlos Monreal, Founder and CEO of Plastic Energy. “The aim of Plastic Energy is to further develop the recycling infrastructure in France and worldwide in order to improve the recyclability of plastics.”
Karen McKee, President of ExxonMobil Chemical, said, “We are well positioned to add value through our expertise in plastics manufacturing and high-performance products, and to advance projects like this that deliver sustainable solutions on a large scale.”
Plastic Energy’s process was awarded the IChemE Prize in 2020 for outstanding achievements in chemical and process engineering.