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Neste plans to use plastic scrap as fuel feedstock

Neste plans to use plastic scrap as fuel feedstock



Neste to reuse plastic waste

Helsinki-based producer of renewable diesel is now exploring ways to introduce liquefied waste plastic as a future raw material for fossil refining

August 2018

Neste, one of the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel, is now exploring ways to introduce liquefied waste plastic as a future raw material for fossil refining. The aim of the development project is to proceed to industrial scale trial during 2019. The company’s target is to process annually more than one million tonnes of waste plastic by 2030, it said in a statement.

“Neste has been ranked the world’s second most sustainable company and we are already the world’s largest producer of renewable diesel from waste and residues. Our target is to also be a leader in low-carbon refining and support circular economy by developing innovative solutions based on waste plastic,” said Matti Lehmus, executive vice president of Neste’s Oil Products business area.

“With our strong legacy in raw material and pretreatment research, we are in a unique position to introduce waste plastics as a new raw material for fossil refining. At the same time, we aim to provide solutions to support global plastic waste reduction,” Lehmus continued.

Using waste plastic as a raw material increases material efficiency, reduces crude oil dependency and carbon footprint of products based on such raw material.

 

Chemical recycling

In Europe, some 27 million tonnes of post-consumer plastic waste is generated annually. Only about one-third of this amount is currently collected for recycling. In January 2018, the European Union (EU) released its Strategy for Plastics in a Circular Economy. One of its objectives is to increase recycling of plastics and reuse of plastic packaging by 2030. In the EU Waste package, recycling target for plastic packaging was raised to 50 per cent by 2025 and 55 per cent by 2030.

“In order to reach the ambitious EU plastics recycling targets, both chemical and mechanical recycling need to be recognized in the EU regulation,” Matti Lehmus says.

Chemical recycling means using waste plastics as raw material for the refining and petrochemical industries to convert them into end products such as fuels, chemicals, and new plastics. Chemical recycling can create new outlets for plastic waste by enabling high end product qualities, thereby complementing traditional mechanical recycling. 

 

Building partnerships

Reaching industrial-scale production of products from plastic waste still requires development of technologies and value chains. To accelerate development, Neste is looking for partners across the value chain, for example in waste management and upgrading technologies.

“Circular economy is built upon joint efforts,” says Matti Lehmus. “We wish to partner with leading companies throughout the value chain, who share our sustainability values and ambition, and are ready to move forward with us.”

 

Bio-based plastics

In addition to exploring ways to utilise plastic waste as raw material, Neste is helping the plastics industry and various plastics-consuming companies to reduce their crude oil dependency and climate emissions by producing durable and recyclable renewable plastics from bio-based raw materials, such as waste fats and oils. As an example, Neste and IKEA will produce polypropylene (PP) plastic from fossil-free, bio-based raw materials at commercial scale during fall 2018. This will mark the first time in the world that bio-based PP is produced at a commercial scale.  




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