Neste acquires stake in plastics recycling company

Article by Amanda Jasi

NESTE has acquired a minority stake in plastics recycling company Alterra Energy. The companies will work together to achieve global rollout of Alterra’s recycling technology.

Alterra’s proprietary thermochemical liquefaction technology can process a wide variety of plastic waste. Waste is pre-processed and then depolymerised via pyrolysis into condensable vapour and non-condensable gas. The vapour is condensed into petrochemical product that can be flexibly processed and upgraded into high-quality feedstock for polymer and chemical production. The non-condensable gas is routed back into the system for energy recovery.

The collaboration between the companies will include joint technology development and global technology licensing that is expected to enable commercialisation of Alterra’s thermochemical liquefaction process in Europe.

The planned global rollout will have an initial focus on Europe, which the partners say leads the market in the global transition towards making the plastics value chain fully circular.

Alterra and Neste aim to accelerate the adoption of chemical recycling and develop capacity to convert hard-to-recycle plastic waste into high-quality, high-performance polymers, and chemicals. Oil company Neste claims to be the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel and sustainable aviation fuel, and it introduces renewable technologies to polymer and chemical industries.

Alterra Energy
Alterra’s waste plastics facility in Akron, Ohio.

Alterra has an existing industrial-scale waste plastics liquefaction facility in Akron, Ohio, US. The plant produces commercial volumes of product that can be refined and upgraded into feedstock. Together with Neste’s refining capability, the partners expect to enable “sustainable-oriented brands” around the world to start introducing recycled content into their products.

Neste’s equity investment into Alterra will support the recycling company’s expansion. The collaboration will aid Alterra in achieving its target of starting construction of a state-of-the-art liquefaction site in Europe, this year.

Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President of Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste, commented that the partnership supports Neste’s aim of building new business growth based on chemical recycling, and marks another step towards its goal of processing more than 1m t/y of waste from 2030 onwards.

Frederic Schmuck, CEO of Alterra, said: “The Neste-Alterra partnership will unlock the full potential of the circular economy, bringing our technology to more partners around the world, creating a cleaner planet.”

“Neste is a world leader in renewable and circular solutions and its endorsement of Alterra's proprietary process is both extremely rewarding and validating.”

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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