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Consortium agrees on initial funding for waste-to-chemistry project in Rotterdam

CTBR Staff Writer Published 19 February 2018

A consortium consisting of Air Liquide, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, Enerkem and the Port of Rotterdam have agreed on initial funding for the development of a new waste-to-chemistry facility in Rotterdam.

This facility is claimed to be the first of its kind in Europe to offer a sustainable solution for non-recyclable wastes, converting waste plastics and other mixed wastes into new raw materials.

The consortium has estimated that the initial investments that cover detailed engineering and the setup of a dedicated joint venture, along with the necessary permission processes would require around €9m.

The final investment decision for the project, which is estimated to cost around €200m, is expected to be taken later this year.

The facility is expected to convert up to 360,000 tons of waste into 220,000 tons (270 million liters) of methanol. This is equal to the annual waste of more than 700,000 households and represents about 300,000 tonnes of CO2 emission savings.

It will be built within the Botlek area of the Port of Rotterdam using Enerkem's technology and will convert non-recyclable mixed waste, including plastics, into syngas and then into clean methanol for use in the chemical industry and for the transportation sector.

The plant will have two production lines or twice the input capacity of Enerkem’s plants in Edmonton, Canada. The plant will also benefit from latest infrastructure within the Port of Rotterdam. Akzonobel will also buy the methanol from the facility.

The project is being supported by the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate policy, which have agreed to develop mechanisms and regulations that will help in bringing this new technology to full scale.

AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals RD&I director and the consortium’s steering committee lead Marco Waas said: "This is an important milestone for the project and a significant step toward implementing a sustainable and circular chemical industry. The agreement comes at a very appropriate time given the current challenges in plastics recycling in Europe.

"We can convert non-recyclable waste, into methanol, an essential raw material for many everyday products, including low carbon transportation fuel. Not only can this be used in the existing supply chains and replace fossil sources, but it also avoids CO2 emissions otherwise produced by burning waste."