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Repsol, Axens, and IFPEN introduce new process to enhance chemical recycling of plastic waste

June 24/2021

MOSCOW (MRC) -- Repsol, Axens, a worldwide technology provider and IFPEN, the renowned French research and innovation player in the field of energy, have developed a pioneering and patented process to enhance the chemical recycling of plastic waste and boost circular materials production, according to Hydrocarbonprocessing.

The RewindTM Mix process removes impurities such as silicon, chlorine, diolefins, and metals from the plastics pyrolysis oils produced, allowing the direct and undiluted feed to petrochemical units.

Pyrolysis is one of the most promising pathways for the chemical recycling of plastic waste, which otherwise would end up incinerated or in landfills, and the production of food-grade, low-carbon footprint, recycled plastics.

This new pyrolysis oil upgrading process will expand its deployment and allow the massive introduction of recycled pyrolysis oil in existing steam cracking assets.

Chemical recycling now represents a very innovative solution complementary to mechanical recycling. Polyolefins from petrochemistry represent about half of the 400 Mt/y world plastic production and a major target in terms of plastic recycling. Today, mechanical recycling faces limitations due to feedstock quality (mix of polymers and impurities content) that directly impact product quality and potential applications, in particular for food-grade use.

The RewindTM Mix process has been developed at the Repsol Technology Lab and IFPEN facilities, with extensive pilot plant testing of representative pyrolysis oils, reproducing the exact conditions of the future industrial plant. It can advantageously be integrated within the existing petrochemical units.

The process relies upon Axens proven industrial technologies and catalysts and on the long experience of the 3 partners in the field of the petrochemical industry. Based on this solid basis and the extensive pilot testing, the partners will now study the first industrial application in a Repsol facility, while Axens will commercialize the technology through licensing.

Repsol has a long track record of applying circularity in its products. In 2015, Repsol was the first company to reintroduce oil from chemical recycling of plastic waste not suited for conventional mechanical recycling on an industrial scale at its Puertollano industrial complex. In 2019, Repsol started to sell circular polyolefins under the ISCC PLUS certification. The company is committed to a circular economy as one of the main pillars of the transformation of its industrial complexes into large multi-energy hubs, capable of using different kinds of waste and converting them into low carbon products. This project supports the recent announcement in the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan of the company's ambition to use four million metric tons of waste per year besides recycling the equivalent of 20% of its polyolefins production by 2030.

As MRC informed previously, earlier this month, Axens and Sulzer Chemtech (GTC Technology) formed an alliance to license an advanced process for fluid catalytic cracking (FCC) naphtha processing.

Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.

According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 744,130 tonnes in the first four month of 2021, up by 4% year on year. Shipments of all PE grades increased. At the same time, PP deliveries to the Russian market were 523,900 tonnes in January-April 2021, up by 55% year on year. Supply of homopolymer PP and PP block copolymers increased, whereas shipments of PP random copolymers decreased.
Author:Margaret Volkova
Tags:PP, PE, crude and gaz condensate, propylene, ethylene, petrochemistry, recikling, Axens, Repsol, Spain, France.
Category:General News
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