In line with its ambitions to transition into a site ‘ready to serve future customer needs’, Shell subsidiary Shell Chemicals Park Moerdijk has announced plans to invest in a new pyrolysis oil upgrader unit.
The investment represents a first major step in transforming the park, within ten years, by increasing the use of circular and bio-based feedstocks, growing its offer of low-carbon products and achieving net-zero emissions through the application of hydrogen and CCS.
To achieve these ambitions, Shell intends to invest billions in the chemical complex at Moerdijk over the next decade, subject to investment decisions and within existing capital allocation frameworks.
The new pyrolysis oil upgrader unit will treat the output resulting from the chemical recycling of ‘unrecyclable’ plastic waste that would otherwise be incinerated. Expected to start production in 2024, the unit will have a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per annum, which is the equivalent to the weight of about 7.8 billion plastic bags; and supports Shell’s ambition to recycle one million tonnes of plastic waste in its chemicals plants by 2025. Shell will use the treated pyrolysis oil to produce circular chemicals which are the ingredients used in many end products that are all around us. The investment responds to growing customer demand, the company said.
“As our customers demand more low-carbon and circular chemicals we are seeing the reinvention of the chemical industry,” said Robin Mooldijk, Executive Vice President, Shell Chemicals and Products. “This pyrolysis oil upgrader investment is part of our commitment to developing the chemical recycling industry, which can turn hard to recycle plastics into new and useful products, helping society tackle the key issue of plastic waste.”
Hydrogen plays a key role in achieving net zero by 2032. Shell Chemicals Park Moerdijk is developing plans, pending final investment decisions, to build a facility that will produce hydrogen from the residual gases from the Park’s production process. Shell will use this hydrogen to heat the industrial furnaces. The aim is to capture and store the CO2, a residue in the process of making hydrogen, in old gas fields under the seabed.
Next to circular pyrolysis oil, bio-based feedstocks can also be used. In 2021, Shell decided to invest in the construction of a biofuels facility at Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam. The biofuels facility is currently being built and is expected to start production in 2024.