50,000 tonnes of Virgin Quality Recycled Polymers by 2020

IN DEPTH: SUEZ JV Closing the Loop on Plastics

Dutch plastics and chemicals firm LyondellBasell has teamed up with SUEZ to develop a facility to produce a varity of virgin quality recycled polymers.

“We are convinced that this unique recycling installation represents the most modern of its kind worldwide, offering highest flexibility and economy,” Ralf J. Dahl, Vice President, KraussMaffei Berstorff.

Image © Quality Circular Polymers

With the more stringent recycling targets on the way in the EU, its become increasingly important to improve the 25% recycling rate for plastics. To help address the issue LyondellBasell, has teamed up with SUEZ to develop a facility to produce a varity of virgin quality recycled polymers.

Formed back in 2014 through deal between Dutch plastics and chemicals firm, LyondellBasell and French environmental services giant, SUEZ, Quality Circular Polymers (QCP) is a 50/50 joint venture between the two firm. Strategically located near Maastricht in the Netherlands the firms new facility is currently ramping up production of polypropylene (PP) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE) per year. The company manufactures two grades of HDPE and eight grades of PP copolymer.

The aim is to recycle 35,000 tonnes in 2018 and 50,000 tonnes by 2020. Under the the terms of the JV agreement LyondellBasell markets QCP’s materials and SUEZ is responsible for securing the feedstock for the plant.

“Partnering with SUEZ allows us to contribute to the circular economy in a way that no plastics company has before,” explains LyondellBasell CEO Bob Patel. “For several years, we have seen increased demand for recycled and reused plastics, especially in Europe. With QCP, we have combined our respective expertise with SUEZ to create an innovative system that can be scaled as the circular economy grows.”

SUEZ CEO Jean-Louis Chaussade adds that plastics recycling is also a key market for SUEZ, which operates nine dedicated facilities in Europe. In 2017, SUEZ processed 400,000 tonnes of plastic waste and produced 150,000 tonnes of new plastic resources. The company has set an objective of increasing its processing capacity by 50% to 600,000 tonnes in 2020.

“The circular economy will increasingly develop into a critical part of the plastic value chain. Moving forward, we will bear in mind the economics of operating our businesses must be balanced with environmental awareness,” he says. “As we move towards becoming value players in the circular economy, we will continue to seek opportunities for future growth.”

“In Europe, only 7% of the 50 Mio annual tonnage used is recycled polymer, and 93% is stillvirgin materials coming from fossil fuels,” Boursier notes. “Together with LyondellBasell, we aim to speed up the use of circular polymers and industrial manufacturers to reach their environmental targets. This partnership represents a new step in SUEZ plastics strategy in Europe, and it will help to reach our objective to process 600,000 tons of plastic waste in 2020.”

Tecnology
To enable it to produce materials of virgin-like quality, QCP selected three key technology providers for the engineering and construction phase. B+B Anlagenbau supplied all the equipment for the preparation of the incoming bales of post consumer plastic waste, through to the sorted clean flakes. KraussMaffei Berstorff will supplied the extruders that transform the polymer flakes into high quality polypropylene and polyethylene compounds. AZO connects the material flows by providing all material handling and transport systems enabling an automated logistic process.

At the time of the selection Huub Meessen, CEO of QCP said: “Apart from B+B, which has a long track record in the circular polymer industry, it is good to see that leading players from the virgin polymer industry, like KraussMaffei Berstorff and AZO are very determined to step into the world of sustainable polymers.”

Marc Houtermans, COO of QCP, adds: “This partnership will combine the best of both worlds: new technology from the upcoming circular polymer industry with proven technology and extensive experience from the traditional compounding industry.”

Achim Ebel, Managing Director of B+B Anlagenbau, one of the major equipment suppliers for the project concludes: “This plant will enable QCP to produce high quality flakes with state-of-the-art grinding, hot washing and (colour) sorting technology.”