FINLAND’S Neste Oil and Swedish home furnishings giant IKEA have joined forces to develop renewable and bio-based plastics to replace virgin plastics from fossil fuels.
Neste, the Finnish national oil company, is in fact the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel, producing 2m t/y using its NEXBTL process at three refineries in Porvoo in Finland, Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and Tuas, Singapore. The proprietary technology uses hydrogen to convert fats and oils to biodiesel and can use any type of fat, including vegetable oils and waste animal fat. Neste has developed hydrocarbon feedstocks from the NEXBTL process for drop-in bio-plastic alternatives.
This technology and know-how ties in perfectly with IKEA’s commitment to reducing its dependence on fossil-based materials. The company, which has almost 400 stores in 48 countries worldwide, wants to replace materials with renewable materials or those produced from waste and residue raw materials. Lena Pripp-Kovac, IKEA sustainability manager, said that the company wants to “contribute to a transformational change” in the home furnishings industry. IKEA’s long-term strategy is for all plastics used in its products to come from recycled or renewable material. Its first focus area will be its solid plastic home furnishing products, which accounts for 40% of its plastic usage.
“IKEA's commitment to initiate a change in the industry is an extremely important step in redefining how materials will be made and how raw materials are used in the near future. IKEA and Neste, together with partners, can enable the production of bio-based plastics that are produced from waste and residues of the customers' preference and choice, can be produced with the existing production assets, are fully compatible with customers' needs, and are recyclable in the current plastics pool. We are proud to work with IKEA on the initiative,” said Tuomas Hyyryläinen, senior vice president, strategy and new ventures at Neste.
Neste and IKEA plan to produce the first proof-of-concept products by the end of 2017. The two companies are inviting other companies with similar aims or expertise to join the initiative.
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