LyondellBasell to build industrial-scale advanced recycling plant in Germany

Article by Kerry Hebden

MULTINATIONAL LyondellBasell is set to build the company's first industrial-scale catalytic advanced recycling demonstration plant at its Wesseling, Germany site, using the firm’s MoReTec technology. 

MoReTec is a molecular recycling technique that uses a catalyst in the pyrolysis process to improve the breakdown of post-consumer plastic waste.  

The technology can recycle most plastic materials, including mixed plastic containers and multi-layered food packaging items, and the end product, pyrolysis oil, can be used as a substitute for fossil-based materials used in polymer production. 

The catalyst technology also benefits from a lower process temperature, which reduces energy consumption, meaning it can be powered by electricity from renewable sources.MoReTec was developed in partnership with Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and has been tested at LyondellBasell’s pilot plant at its Ferrara site in Italy. 

LyondellBasell, one of the largest plastics, chemicals, and refining companies in the world, said the plant in Germany will be the first commercial scale, single-train advanced recycling plant to convert plastic waste into feedstock for production of new plastic materials.  

With an annual capacity of around 50,000 t/y, the new plant is expected to recycle the yearly plastic packaging waste of over 1.2m German residents.  

Construction is planned for completion by the end of 2025, and feedstock produced by the facility will be sold for use in a wide range of applications, including medical and food packaging.   

Peter Vanacker, CEO at LyondellBasell, said: "We are committed to addressing the global challenge of plastic waste and advancing a circular economy.” He continued: “Scaling up our catalytic advanced recycling technology will allow us to return larger volumes of plastic waste back into the value chain. By doing this, we will have the ability to produce more materials for high-quality applications, retaining value of plastics for as long as possible.” 

Article by Kerry Hebden

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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