BASF, Quantafuel, and Remondis have signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) to jointly evaluate a cooperation in chemical recycling, including a joint investment in a pyrolysis plant to process plastic waste. The objective is for Remondis, a waste- and water-management company, to supply suitable plastic waste to the plant operated by Quantafuel and for BASF to use the resulting pyrolysis oil as feedstock as part of its ChemCycling project.
Norway-based energy company Quantafuel has expertise in the pyrolysis of mixed plastic waste and purification of the resulting oil. The technology is jointly developed and held with BASF. Pyrolysis oil derived from plastic waste is fed into BASF’s Verbund production facility, thereby saving an equivalent amount of fossil resources. Since the pyrolysis oil is directly fed into the chemical value chain at the beginning, final products have the same properties as products made from fossil feedstock. The share of recycled material is allocated to the end products according to a third-party-certified mass balance approach, which allows BASF to offer its customers certified products carrying the Ccycled label.
Each year, almost 20 million metric tons of plastic waste in Europe go unrecycled. By establishing chemical recycling as a complementary solution to mechanical recycling, it is possible to bring back more plastic waste into the materials cycle, which would otherwise be incinerated. Pyrolysis technology can be used to process plastic waste streams that are not recycled mechanically either for technological or economic reasons.
“BASF has set itself the goal to process 250,000 metric tons of recycled feedstock annually from 2025 onwards,” said Dr. Lars Kissau, Senior Vice President, Global Strategic Business Development, at BASF’s Petrochemicals division. “In this regard, it is important to use feedstock derived from plastic waste that otherwise would not have undergone recycling. Partnering with companies from the waste management and recycling sector as well as innovative technology providers is an ideal constellation to build a sustainable circular economy model for previously non-recycled plastic waste,” said Kissau, adding that “solving the plastic waste challenge will only be possible in a favorable regulatory environment.”
Legislation at the EU and national levels will create the framework for chemical recycling and, therefore, shape its contribution to a more circular economy for plastics. This includes acknowledging that products based on chemically recycled feedstock will count toward achieving recycled content targets, said the companies in the joint announcement.