Following up on the acquisition of a minority stake in Alterra Energy in 2020, Neste has now announced the purchase of the European rights to Alterra Energy’s liquefaction technology.
Alterra Energy is a US-based company that has developed a proprietary thermochemical solution for the liquefaction of hard-to-recycle plastic. In Akron, Ohio, the company is already running an industrial-scale facility that transforms end-of-life plastics into an intermediate product, which can be further refined into raw material for new plastics and other petrochemical products.
Neste’s acquisition further solidifies the company’s efforts to advance chemical recycling. It will moreover enable the company to ‘offer a holistic solution to our partners’, according to Heikki Färkkilä, Vice President Chemical Recycling at Neste Renewable Polymers and Chemicals, enabling the company to provide the full chemical recycling package: from waste plastic to product, offering high-quality drop-in feeds for the production of new polymers and chemicals.
After acquiring a minority stake in Alterra two years ago, Neste continued to actively explore the opportunities presented by the technology. It has processed liquefied waste plastic sourced from, among others, Alterra Energy in a series of trial runs at its refinery in Finland. Moreover, together with Ravago, Neste also plans to set up a joint venture to deploy the Alterra Energy technology in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. Furthermore, to scale up processing capacities for liquefied waste plastic at its Porvoo refinery in Finland, Neste is currently conducting a feasibility study to examine investing in proprietary pretreatment and upgrading capabilities. Through chemical recycling, the company aims to reduce dependence on virgin fossil resources and accelerate circularity in the production of polymers and chemicals.
Neste has set a clear target for the future of processing more than one million tons of waste plastic per annum from 2030 onwards. To that end, Neste has engaged with companies along the plastics value chain. This includes upstream partners such as recycling companies and technology developers, but also chemicals production partners and brand owners looking for more sustainable, circular solutions.
The ongoing joint technology development between Neste and Alterra Energy and the continued processing of mixed plastic feeds in the Akron facility have given Neste confidence in the technology developed by Alterra Energy for the liquefaction of waste plastic material.
While Neste has acquired the European rights to the technology, Alterra Energy will continue to operate independently in the rest of the world - ‘to support petrochemical industry players in meeting their sustainability commitments to brand owners and consumers’, Frederic Schmuck, CEO of Alterra Energy phrased it. Alterra aims to commercialise the technology through licensing.
As a partner and shareholder, Neste is committed to supporting the continuous development of Alterra Energy’s technology, establishing it as one of the leading solutions in the chemical recycling of plastic waste on a global level.