Green tie-ups: Aramco, TotalEnergies and Sabic produce oil from waste to make circular polymers; Shell and PreZero to partner for advanced recycling

Aramco, TotalEnergies and Sabic produce oil from waste to make circular polymers

Petchem firms Saudi Aramco, TotalEnergies, and Sabic have for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa successfully converted oil derived from plastic waste into ISCC+ certified circular polymers. The plastic pyrolysis oil, also called plastic waste derived oil (PDO), was processed at the Satorp refinery jointly owned by Aramco and TotalEnergies, in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. It was then used as a feedstock by Petrokemya, a Sabic affiliate, to produce certified circular polymers.

The project aims to pave the way for the creation of a domestic value chain for the advanced recycling of plastics to circular polymers in Saudi Arabia. The process allows the use of non-sorted plastics, which can be difficult to recycle mechanically, and consequently contributes to solving the challenge of end-of-life plastics.

A first milestone for the project was obtaining ISCC+ certification to assure transparency and traceability of the recycled origin of feedstock and products. Three industrial plants were involved in the process: Satorp refinery, Aramco’s Ju'aymah NGL Fractionation Plant and Petrokemya. All successfully obtained the ISCC+ certification, enabling the production of circular materials.

Mohammed Y. Al Qahtani, Aramco’s President of Downstream, said: “This achievement illustrates the importance of the petrochemical sector in creating more sustainable products and solutions. Our aim is to create circular solutions for plastic waste, while also making progress on our ambition to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions across our wholly-owned operated assets by 2050. By leveraging spare capacity of existing infrastructure, we aim to produce circular products that could be scaled up at low cost. Aramco is considering multiple ways of tapping into new technologies and leveraging existing assets to support the deployment of circular, more sustainable and lower-carbon products.”

Sami Al-Osaimi, SABIC EVP Petrochemicals (A), said: “Sabic recently announced its target of 1 million tonnes of Trucircle solutions by 2030, which intends to help provide our customers with more sustainable solutions.”

Sabic, and TotalEnergies are founding members of the non-profit organisation Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which aims to bring collective knowledge, resources and experience to address current waste management challenges.

Shell and PreZero to partner for advanced recycling

In other news, waste/recycling management company PreZero, part of the Schwarz Group, and oil firm Shell are collaborating to tackle the challenge of recycling plastic by creating a chemical solution. They acknowledge that not all types of plastic can be effectively recycled through mechanical processes, resulting in a significant gap in the circularity of plastic waste. To address this issue, both companies are pooling their expertise and resources to develop practical projects that bridge this recycling gap.

PreZero, drawing on its knowledge in collecting, sorting, and preparing feedstock, will focus on devising new methods for identifying and converting plastic waste into reusable plastic materials. On the other hand, Shell will utilise its capabilities to develop, scale, and implement technologies aimed at transforming plastic waste into chemicals, which can be used to produce new plastics.

The initial project resulting from this collaboration is currently underway in the Netherlands, marking the first step towards achieving their shared goals.

Sven Nuener, CSO PreZero International, said: “Many European countries are significantly increasing their recycling targets for plastic. To work towards this goal, we not only need to increase the capacity of our recycling facilities but also diversify the types of plastic waste we can process. Our new project ensures broader possibilities for recycling as we work with material that would otherwise remain as waste.”

Marco Richrath, Senior Vice President of Chemicals and Products Europe added: “Proper waste sorting and pre-treatment is essential to make chemical recycling a success. I am therefore very happy Shell is going to further develop its collaboration with PreZero. Our joint goal is to develop an economically viable value chain for plastic waste not suitable for mechanical recycling, by turning it back into virgin quality plastic packaging and other products that would otherwise be made from fossil-based feedstocks, thereby contributing to the plastic circular economy. With this cooperation agreement, we are bringing parties in the value chain together to make progress.”

In addition to these projects, PreZero and Shell will explore other cross-business connections in areas such as low-carbon fuels and renewable energy generation.


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