Austrian energy company OMV is producing synthetic crude from Austrian Airlines' plastic cup waste at its ReOil pilot plant in Schwechat, near Vienna.
The pilot plant, which started operation early last year, uses a thermo-chemical process to produce synthetic crude from post-consumer plastic waste.
The recycling process involves thermal cracking at temperatures exceeding 300 degrees Celsius. The patented technology breaks medium and long-chain hydrocarbons into shorter-chain hydrocarbons.
In a 26 March release, OMV said it has been processing Austrian Airlines' post-consumer plastic cups since January, under the Lufthansa Group's “fly greener” initiative.
The process requires the airline's crew to separate plastic cups, which are then cleaned and shredded by a disposal company before being delivered to the ReOil plant.
"Our flight attendants have been making a key contribution for many years by recycling. I am delighted that – together with OMV – we have been able to take another crucial step towards this goal [of reducing waste],” said Vera Renner, VP cabin operations of Austrian Airlines.
"In the ReOil pilot plant, we are able to turn the AUA drinking cups into synthetic crude and then process them into fuel or back into plastics,” added Thomas Gangl, OMV SVP refining & petrochemicals.
The ReOil technology can process 100kg of used plastics into 100 litres of synthetic crude.