Proceeding on the target of commercializing chemical recycling of waste plastic, Neste is conducting a feasibility study to examine investing in capacity for processing liquefied waste plastic at its refinery in Porvoo, Finland. The goal is to scale up processing capabilities for liquefied waste plastic by implementing proprietary technologies to pretreat and upgrade liquefied waste plastic and integrating the technologies into the refinery operations. The targeted pretreatment and upgrading capacity of this first step is 400,000 tons per year. This development would be a major step towards Neste’s target to process over 1 million tons of waste plastic per year from 2030 onwards.
To produce drop-in petrochemical feeds from liquefied waste plastic (e.g. pyrolysis oil), intermediate refining is needed to remove detrimental impurities as well as optimize the chemical composition of the material.
“To turn chemical recycling into a viable and industrial-scale feed source for our downstream partners in the polymers and chemicals value chain, we have to bridge the quality gap between unprocessed liquefied waste plastic oil and our customers’ raw material requirements,” explains Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste. “We are a forerunner in refining liquefied waste plastic into drop-in petrochemical feeds. By scaling up our processing capabilities, we enhance our ability to process hard-to-recycle waste plastics and help enable our value chain partners to deliver substantial volumes of high-quality materials from recycled feedstock.”
Increased flexibility when processing waste plastics
In 2021, Neste successfully concluded the first series of trial runs processing liquefied waste plastic in its Porvoo refinery. Additional trial runs with larger volumes will continue in the course of 2022. While unprocessed liquefied waste plastic is usable for trial-scale runs, continuous processing at industrial scale will require the pretreatment and upgrading step to remove impurities and unwanted components.
“We are excited to continue to develop liquid waste plastic processing capabilities at our Porvoo refinery. The goal is to turn waste plastics into valuable resources and a sustainable replacement for crude oil. The planned new pretreatment and upgrading capabilities are part of our target to be the most sustainable refinery in Europe by 2030, while supporting the transition to circular polymers,” says Markku Korvenranta, Executive Vice President, Oil Products at Neste.
To develop and build up the capabilities at its Porvoo refinery, Neste will evaluate possible options for innovation funding and works together closely with local authorities supervising environmental aspects of the investment. Following the feasibility study, investment decision readiness is targeted for 2023 and the gradual implementation is expected to start in 2024.
Neste (NESTE, Nasdaq Helsinki) creates solutions for combating climate change and accelerating a shift to a circular economy. We refine waste, residues and innovative raw materials into renewable fuels and sustainable feedstock for plastics and other materials. We are the world’s leading producer of sustainable aviation fuel and renewable diesel and developing chemical recycling to combat the plastic waste challenge. We aim at helping customers to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions with our renewable and circular solutions by at least 20 million tons annually by 2030. Our ambition is to make the Porvoo oil refinery in Finland the most sustainable refinery in Europe by 2030. We are introducing renewable and recycled raw materials such as liquefied waste plastic as refinery raw materials. We have committed to reaching carbon-neutral production by 2035, and we will reduce the carbon emission intensity of sold products by 50% by 2040. We also have set high standards for biodiversity, human rights and supply chain. We have consistently been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies. In 2021, Neste’s revenue stood at EUR 15.1 billion.