In a statement released 14 Feb., Alterra Energy announced that it has entered into its first licensing agreement in North America. The agreement - with a subsidiary of Freepoint Eco-Systems Holdings LLC - provides for the construction of a 192,000 tonnes per annum chemical recycling facility for waste plastics in the Gulf Coast region.
Alterra has developed a liquefaction technology that, unlike many of its competitors, is a continuous, rather than a batch or semi-batch process. The company currently operates an industrial-scale, fully continuous 20,000 tonnes per annum recycling facility in Akron, Ohio, where it processes, for the most part, post-consumer mixed plastic otherwise destined for landfills or incineration.
Freepoint said the fact that it selected the Alterra recycling process was precisely because of this track record - its successful operation at commercial scale of a recycling facility able to handle hard-to-recycle waste plastics. “This project will increase the recycled content of the new plastic produced […] as well as assist in the creation of a more sustainable economy and a healthier planet," said Jeff McMahon, Managing Director of Freepoint.
The technology developed by Alterra produces pyrolysis oil. This product is becoming an interesting option for refiners, who are increasingly teaming up with waste management companies and recyclers in order to to secure long-term availability of useable, circular feedstock. And this is where Freepoint Eco-Systems comes in: among other things, the company is in the business of securing supplies of waste plastic that is not being recycled and converting this into feedstock at its advanced recycling facilities. Freepoint will supply the output of the proposed facility, which will be ISCC Plus certified, exclusively to Shell under a supply agreement.
“With the potential to recycle more than 190,000 tonnes of post-use plastic per year, this facility will support Shell in delivering more of the circular chemicals our customers want," said Phil Turley, GM, plastic circularity at Shell.
With its 192,000 tonnes per annum capacity, the Freepoint project will be one of the largest advanced recycling plants in the world - plus, it has the potential to increase the capacity to 288,000 tonnes per annum.
"We are excited that an established global commodities merchant with a focus on owning and operating advanced recycling assets to minimize the reliance on fossil fuels for plastic production has chosen the Alterra technology,” said Alterra CEO Frederic Schmuck.