Plastic Energy, a UK-based recycling company that has developed technology to recycle ‘unrecyclable’ polyolefins, and raw materials producer Ineos have announced plans to build a new recycling plant based on Plastic Energy’s new technology. The plant is scheduled to go into operation at the end of 2023.
The process developed by the recycling company, which already operates two plastic recycling plants in Seville and Almeria (Spain), is able to successfully turn mixed, contaminated, multi-layered plastics, as well as plastics that can no longer be mechanically recycled into a raw material called Tacoil. The process removes all contamination, making it possible to produce new plastics with properties that are identical to virgin plastics. For every tonne of end-of-life plastic waste processed, 850 litres of chemical feedstock Tacoil are produced, the company says.
Under the agreement with Ineos, the material produced at the new recycling plant will be used in Ineos crackers to replace traditional raw materials derived from oil.
“This represents the delivery of another important milestone in the INEOS sustainability strategy,” said Rob Ingram, CEO of Ineos Olefins & Polymers Europe. Plastic Energy’s patented Thermal Anaerobic Conversion (TAC) technology, complements traditional mechanical recycling efforts and energy recovery activities.
The collected plastic waste (PS, PP, LDPE, HDPE) is delivered to the plant, where it undergoes a pre-treatment process to eliminate metals, heavier plastics and moisture. This feedstock is then heated in the absence of oxygen until it melts. The polymer molecules break down and form a hydrocarbon vapour. The condensable gasses are converted to hydrocarbon products – diesel, light oil and synthetic gas components - while the non-condensable are collected separately and combusted to process energy.
“We will work jointly to bring this new solution on to the market and respond to the growing demand for high quality recycled content,” said Carlos Monreal, the founder and CEO of Plastic Energy.
The two companies have completed the first trials using the new raw material in the INEOS cracker at Köln, Germany. The resins produced in this trial will now be used by selected customers and brands to demonstrate the benefits of the process.