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Sabic and Plastic Energy Start Construction of Circular Polymers Plant

Image: Sabic chemical plant
Plastic Energy’s proprietary chemical recycling process converts low-quality, mixed, and recycled plastic into Tacoil, which Sabic uses as an alternative to traditional fossil materials to create new circular polymers.

Chemicals company Sabic has partnered with Plastic Energy, a pioneer in chemical plastics recycling, to start engineering and construction of the first commercial unit to produce its flagship certified circular polymers, part of the TruCircle portfolio. The plant in Geleen, Netherlands, is expected to become operational in the second half of 2022. The 50/50 joint venture — Sabic Plastic Energy Advanced Recycling (SPEAR) — is being executed with an energy subsidy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands.

As part of the project’s market foundation stage, Sabic has worked with Plastic Energy and leading customers and converters to produce and commercialize certified circular polymers since early 2019. The new unit will enable Sabic to significantly upscale the production of certified circular polymers to provide customers with greater access to sustainable materials that have been recycled, repurposed, and produced in a way that can help protect natural resources, while acting as a drop-in solution.

“Advancements in this pioneering project take us one step closer to driving the change needed to become a circular global industry,” said Fahad Al Swailem, Vice President, PE & Sales at Sabic. “We have overcome significant external, global challenges to reach this important milestone and remain fully committed to the loop on used plastic. We are continuing to collaborate on an unprecedented level with our partners upstream and downstream to achieve this.”

Sabic’s certified circular polymers are produced using Plastic Energy’s patented advanced recycling process. The Thermal Anaerobic Conversion (TAC) process converts low-quality, mixed, and recycled plastic, otherwise destined for incineration or landfill, into Tacoil. The feedstock will be produced in the new commercial unit and used by Sabic as an alternative to traditional fossil materials to create new circular polymers.

“It has been an exciting journey in making our vision of building advanced recycling plants come to life, and we are delighted to announce the construction of this new facility with Sabic,” said Carlos Monreal, founder and CEO of Plastic Energy. “We have worked jointly with Sabic toward our common goal of making plastics more sustainable and moving toward a more circular economy for plastics.”

This partnership comes on the heels of an announcement in October 2020 of a strategic partnership between Total and Plastic Energy to develop the first chemical recycling project in France. The plant, with a capacity of 15,000 tonnes per year, will be located on Total's new zero crude platform in Grandpuits, France. The project is expected to become operational in early 2023.

Plastic Energy has two facilities currently in operation in Spain — one in Seville since 2014 and the other in Almeria since 2017.

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