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Neste, ReNew ELP and Licella to collaborate in waste plastic utilisation

Finland-headed oil refiner and renewable fuel producer Neste Oyj, UK-based chemical recycling developer ReNew ELP, and Australia-headed technology developer Licella Pty Ltd are joining forces in a development project to explore the potential of using mixed waste plastic as a raw material for fuels, chemicals, and new plastics.

Neste, ReNew ELP, and Licella Pty Ltd are joining forces in a development project to explore the potential of using mixed waste plastic – end-of-life plastic (ELP) – as a raw material for fuels, chemicals, and new plastics (photo courtesy Neste).

In addition to studying liquefied waste plastic feasibility and sustainability as refinery raw material, the companies are also collaborating with the aim to facilitate regulatory acceptance for chemical recycling. The collaboration is one of the steps towards Neste’s goal to introduce liquefied waste plastic as a future raw material to fossil refining, with a target to process annually more than one million ton of waste plastic by 2030.

Neste has a strong legacy in refining, as well as raw material and pretreatment research, but we still need development of technologies, value chains, and supporting legislation for plastic waste based products to become a reality at industrial scale. I believe that this cooperation can accelerate the needed development and commercialization of waste plastic-based products, said Matti Lehmus, Executive Vice President of Neste’s Oil Products business area.

First commercial-scale plant

ReNew ELP is commencing construction of a 20 000 tonnes per annum chemical recycling plant in Teesside, UK, with a target to recycle end-of-life plastic (ELP) to produce raw material for a range of petrochemical products. This will be the first commercial-scale plant based on Cat-HTR technology, a proprietary catalytic hydro-thermal liquefaction platform developed by Licella over the past decade.

ReNew ELP is very pleased to join this collaboration with Neste. Neste’s reputation as a global leader in the production of sustainable, high quality, low-carbon products makes them an ideal development partner for us. At ReNew ELP, we look to deploy our game-changing chemical recycling technology providing an innovative solution to the problem of plastic waste disposal, said Richard Daley, Managing Director of ReNew ELP.

The collaboration also involves Armstrong Energy, who in a joint venture with Licella are leading the financing of the Teesside facility and global deployment of the Cat-HTR technology. Although the plant construction is not included in this collaboration project with Neste, it will nevertheless contribute to a common goal of enabling more efficient waste plastic utilization in the future.

We are excited to be deploying the world’s first commercial-scale Cat-HTR plant alongside Armstrong Energy. After 10 years and AU$75 million invested in the technology, we believe that the Cat-HTR is an important chemical recycling solution for the significant global challenge of end-of-life plastic. The collaboration with Neste and ReNew ELP will help to create markets for recycled carbon fuels and chemicals at a critical time as Europe pushes towards a circular economy, said Dr Len Humphreys, CEO of Licella Holdings.

Neste highlights that the company has a two-pronged approach to plastics with regards to the circular economy. While exploring ways to utilize plastic waste as raw material, Neste is preparing to start commercial-scale production of durable and recyclable renewable plastics from bio-based raw materials, such as waste fats and oils. Neste and IKEA collaboration is leading to a production of bio-based polypropylene (PP) plastic at a commercial scale for the first time in the world during fall 2018.

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