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BASF signs waste tyre pyrolysis oil off-take agreements with New Energy

Germany-headed global chemicals major BASF SE (BASF) has announced that it has signed an uptake supply agreement with Hungary-based New Energy Kft, a technology company specialised in the pyrolysis of waste tyres. According to the agreement, New Energy will supply BASF with up to 4 000 tonnes of waste tyre derived pyrolysis oil per annum to its integrated chemical production site (Verbund) in Ludwigshafen, Germany.

Viktor Varadi (right), CEO of New Energy showing Dr Christian Lach (2nd from right), Project Lead ChemCycling at BASF, the waste tyres that New Energy is turning into pyrolysis oil in their plant in Budapest, Hungary (photo courtesy BASF SE).

The agreement is part of BASF’s “ChemCycling” project which was started in 2018 and focusses on chemically reprocessing post-consumer plastic waste on an industrial scale. In a pilot phase, the first volumes of the pyrolysis oil have already been utilized successfully in BASF’s integrated chemical production site (Verbund) in Ludwigshafen, Germany, and the first commercial products are now in the market.

The focus of the project remains the use of mixed plastic waste, which would otherwise end up in landfill or incineration. In addition, BASF also sees an opportunity to increase recycling rates for end-of-life tyres – waste tyres fall within the definition of post-consumer plastic waste according to DIN EN ISO 14021:2016-07.

So far, there was no technology that allowed the recycling of pyrolysis oil from tyres into high-value applications. By further broadening our raw material base to waste tyees, we can create a new circular value stream. Moreover, we establish a second recycled feedstock in our ChemCycling project with which we can manufacture high-performance products for our customers’ demanding applications, said Dr Christian Lach, Project Leader ChemCycling at BASF.

Produce “Ccycled” products

BASF feeds the pyrolysis oil supplied by New Energy into its integrated Verbund site in Ludwigshafen, thereby replacing fossil resources. The share of recycled raw material is allocated to certain products manufactured in the Verbund by using a third-party audited mass balance approach.

The products which carry the name suffix “Ccycled” have the exact same properties as those manufactured from fossil feedstock. Customers can therefore further process them in the same way as conventionally manufactured products and use them in applications with high demands regarding quality and performance, such as automotive parts.

We are proud that our technology provides value to BASF, and through this collaboration to their customers. We spent almost a decade to develop and optimize our technology and are now successfully operating an industrial-scale plant which turns waste tyres into secondary raw materials. This puts us at the forefront when it comes to establishing a circular economy for tyres. Our objective is to achieve quantifiable environmental benefits. The reduced need for primary fossil resources clearly serves this objective as well as the reduced carbon footprint of the newly manufactured products, said Viktor Varadi, CEO of New Energy.

Joint feasibility study

BASF and New Energy are both committed to working on solutions for the global plastic waste problem. The two parties have therefore additionally signed an agreement for a feasibility study that targets the adaption of New Energy’s proprietary pyrolysis technology to the conversion of other plastic waste streams.

The collaboration with New Energy underlines BASF’s ambition to use recycled raw materials in the chemical industry and lead the transition to a circular economy for plastics. Partnerships with agile, innovative companies are key to achieving these ambitions. We are happy that we have found such a partner in New Energy, in addition to our partnership with Quantafuel that will soon supply us with pyrolysis oil derived from mixed plastic waste from their commercial-scale plant in Skive, Denmark, Dr Lach said.

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