LyondellBasell (LYB) has recently announced its final investment decision to construct the company’s first industrial-scale catalytic advanced recycling demonstration plant at its Wesseling, Germany site. Using LyondellBasell’s proprietary MoReTec technology, this plant will be the first commercial scale, single-train advanced recycling plant to convert post-consumer plastic waste into feedstock for production of new plastic materials that can be ran at net zero GHG emissions.
The new plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 50,000 tonnes per year and is designed to recycle the amount of plastic packaging waste generated by over 1.2 million German citizens per year. Construction is planned to be completed by the end of 2025.
“We are committed to addressing the global challenge of plastic waste and advancing a circular economy, and today’s announcement is another meaningful step in that direction,” stated Peter Vanacker, LYB CEO. “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.”
The LYB MoReTec demonstration plant will close the gap for difficult to recycle plastics, such as mixed or flexible materials that are currently sent to landfill or incineration. Source One Plastics, a joint venture of LYB and 23 Oaks Investments formed in October 2022, will supply the majority of the sorted processed feedstock. The advanced recycled feedstock produced by the MoReTec facility will be used for the production of polymers sold by LYB under the CirculenRevive product line for use in a wide range of applications, including medical and food packaging.
The MoReTec difference
The MoReTec technology produces pyrolysis oil and pyrolysis gas. Pyrolysis oil is a substitute for fossil-based materials used in polymer production. Typically, pyrolysis gas streams are consumed as a fuel, however, the MoReTec technology enables the pyrolysis gas to be recovered as well, contributing to the production of polymer and displacing fossil-based feedstocks, which lowers direct CO2 emissions.
In addition, the proprietary catalyst technology lowers the process temperature, reduces energy consumption and improves yield. With lower energy consumption, the process can be powered by electricity, including electricity from renewable sources at net zero GHG emissions.
These differentiating advantages provide a carbon footprint advantage as well. The recovery of pyrolysis gas as feedstock, lower energy demand, electrical heating design, displacement of fossil-feedstocks and recovery of waste plastic from incineration or landfill result in a significantly lower carbon footprint compared with fossil-based processes. This makes MoReTec a unique value proposition.