Pushing forward towards a more circular economy for plastics, Trinseo and BASF are expanding their businesses with the production of styrene based on circular feedstock derived from advanced recycling technologies or biomass.
For BASF, CO2 emission reduction and a circular economy are cardinal issues. “Using circular feedstocks instead of virgin fossil resources contributes directly or indirectly to an improved CO2 footprint of subsequent products,” said Klaus Ries, Vice President for BASF’s Styrenics Business Europe.
BASF uses a mass balance approach to produce feedstock featuring an improved environmental profile. Mass balance is a chain of custody model designed to keep track of the total amount of input (e. g. circular feedstock) throughout the production cycle and ensure an appropriate allocation to the finished goods. The allocation process as well as the products are certified by an independent auditor.
The company can produce two type of styrene based on a mass balance approach – renewable feedstock based-styrene and styrene based on chemically recycled feedstock. To produce biomass balanced styrene, BASF replaces fossil resources like naphtha or natural gas by renewable feedstocks derived from organic waste or vegetable oils. The company uses pyrolysis oil derived from chemically recycled plastic waste- mixed household waste or end-of-life tires- as the feedstock for its Ccycled products.
Both of these alternative feedstocks replace a certain percentage of virgin fossil resources at the beginning of the value chain - leading to a reduction of CO2 emissions.
“By creating synergy across the value chain, the Trinseo-BASF collaboration is an important move towards helping our customers reach their sustainability goals as well as the development of a truly circular economy,” said Nicolas Joly, Vice President, Plastics & Feedstocks of Trinseo.
Trinseo has already procured the first supplies of mass balanced styrene from BASF, from which the first products have been produced: Solution-Styrene Butadiene Rubber (S-SBR), which it supplies to major tires manufacturers and polystyrene products, which are used in applications such as food packaging and appliances.
According to Ries, Trinseo currently procures biomass balanced (BMB) styrene for its downstream business, although ‘styrene Ccycled will be available in the near future’.