Green tie-ups: Nova Chemicals/Plastic Energy explore recycling plant in Canada; Avantium/SCG Chemicals to bring CO2-based polymers to pilot phase

Nova Chemicals/Plastic Energy explore recycling plant in Canada

Canada’s Nova Chemicals Corporation and Plastic Energy have entered into an agreement to explore the feasibility of developing a pyrolysis-driven advanced recycling facility in the Sarnia, Ontario region. If constructed, the facility would be the largest of its kind in Canada with a potential initial capacity of 66 kt/year.

“Post-use plastics offer tremendous value to furthering the circular economy, and our teams at Nova Chemicals work daily to innovate new and collaborative ways to extend the lifecycle of our products and plastic packaging,” said Greg DeKunder, VP, Nova Circular Solutions. “This agreement with Plastic Energy is a prime example of two companies working together to create timely, effective, and sustainable solutions that will help us make progress towards our 2030 recycled plastics ambitions while diverting hard-to-recycle segments of plastic waste away from landfills.”

Plastic Energy is one of the world’s leading advanced recycling technology companies through use of its patented TAC process to treat post-consumer plastic waste. Recycled polyethylene manufactured using Plastic Energy-produced feedstock, called Tacoil, has identical properties to virgin polyethylene and can be used in food contact and high-performance applications, helping manufacturers and packagers achieve their recycled content goals. Plastic Energy has two commercial recycling plants in Spain that have been in operation for seven years, alongside new projects in Europe and Asia.

“We are pleased to sign this agreement with Nova Chemicals to explore the scope for our first advanced recycling project in Canada,” said Carlos Monreal, Founder/CEO of Plastic Energy. “Advanced recycling will continue to be important for the North American market by providing a solution for incorporating recycled content into food-grade packaging. Together with Nova Chemicals, we aim to reduce the amount of plastic waste ending up in landfills, incineration, or as leakage into the environment, which is important for the circular economy in Canada.”

Nova Chemicals recently announced its aspiration to reach 30% recycled content as a share of its total polyethylene sales by 2030 in its Roadmap to Sustainability Leadership, including its commitment to build a state of the art mechanical recycling business and continue exploring world-leading and proven advanced recycling technologies. If built, this new facility would see Nova Chemicals build on its already CAD2 billion investment into Ontario to inject additional new technology, jobs, and long-term viability into the local and Canadian economies.

Avantium/SCG Chemicals to bring CO2-based polymers to pilot phase

In other news, Dutch renewable chemistry firm Avantium N.V. is partnering with Thailand’s SCG Chemicals Public Company Limited (SCGC) to further develop CO2-based polymers and to scale-up to a pilot plant with an indicative capacity of 10 tonnes/year.

Avantium is a frontrunner in developing and commercialising innovative technologies for the production of chemicals and materials based on sustainable carbon feedstocks, i.e. carbon from plants or carbon from the air (CO2). One of Avantium’s innovative technology platforms, called Volta Technology, uses electrochemistry to convert CO2 to high-value products and chemical building blocks including glycolic acid. By combining glycolic acid with lactic acid, Avantium can produce polylactic-co-glycolic acid (PLGA), a carbon-negative polymer with valuable characteristics: it has barrier against oxygen and moisture, has good mechanical properties, is recyclable and is both home compostable and marine degradable.

This makes PLGA a more sustainable and costeffective alternative to, for example, non-degradable, fossil-based polymers.

Since early 2023, Avantium and SCGC have been working together to further evaluate PLGA. To this end, Avantium has produced samples of different PLGAs, which have been evaluated at SCGC’s Norner AS facility.

The two parties have now agreed to take the next step in their cooperation and establish a Joint Development Agreement. Under this agreement, Avantium and SCGC intend to further evaluate PLGA in order to subsequently scale up production of glycolic acid monomer and PLGA polyester in the next two years to a pilot plant.

Dr Suracha Udomsak, Chief Innovation Officer and Executive Vice President at SCGC comments: “SCGC is committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions by 20% by 2030. To accomplish this, SCGC is not only looking into recycling and reducing plastic use, but is also investing in innovative sustainable solutions. Over the past months, SCGC has assessed PLGA samples and we are impressed with the sustainability and performance characteristics of this innovative material. We look forward to working together with Avantium in the years to come.”

“We are delighted that we have entered into this partnership with SCGC, a partner that understands that innovation and bold action is the key to lasting positive impact for a sustainable future. Under this partnership, we can further develop the very promising carbon-negative plastic PLGA and bring this material to the next commercialisation phase. Both Avantium and SCGC would also welcome other strategic and complementary partners to participate in this collaboration,” says Tom van Aken, CEO at Avantium.


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