MOSCOW (MRC) -- OMV, the international, integrated oil, gas and chemicals company headquartered in Vienna, has taken the final investment decision to build a chemical recycling demo plant, based on its proprietary ReOil technology, with operations to start up in early 2023, as per the company's press release.
With this, OMV is taking the next step toward an industrial-scale plant planned for 2026.
The patented chemical recycling technology, developed by OMV, converts plastic waste into synthetic feedstock, under moderate pressure and normal refinery operating temperatures, which is then primarily used to produce again high-quality plastics.
OMV was among the first companies to develop a chemical recycling technology for used plastics more than a decade ago. A ReOil pilot plant has been operating in the Schwechat refinery since 2018, capable of processing 100 kg of used plastics into 100 liters of synthetic feedstock per hour. The pilot plant has been running for a total of 13,000 hours since its commissioning and thus enabled an improvement in the thermal cracking process and supported the further scale up of the ReOil technology.
The current investment covers the construction of a ReOil demo plant with a design capacity of 16,000 t/year at the OMV site in Schwechat, Austria. To finance this project, OMV entered into its first-ever green loan agreement which is in alignment with the green loan principles and based on a green and project-specific external due diligence appraisal, so-called Second Party Opinion, and a project-specific green financing framework.
The demo plant will turn plastic waste that is not fit to be mechanically recycled and would otherwise be sent to waste incineration into a valuable resource. The feedstock will be sourced in Austria, in close cooperation with local waste management companies, and will consist mainly of polyolefins. Examples of such plastic waste include food packaging, plastic cups, lids from takeaway coffee and confectionery packaging. Through the chemical recycling of plastics, OMV obtains a pure raw material which can again be used to produce virgin-quality base chemicals and plastics for all types of applications including packaging for the food industry and medical products, which must meet the highest quality and safety standards.
“The ReOil pilot plant has shown that we are on the right track with our in-house developed technology and with our efforts in this field. We are confident that chemical recycling can complement the available mechanical recycling technologies and that it represents a sustainable and profitable solution. With the decision to build a demo plant, we are now taking the next step toward circular economy and thus toward reducing our CO2 emissions”, said Alfred Stern, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of OMV Aktiengesellschaft.
The plant will be fully integrated within the petrochemical site at the Schwechat refinery, enabling OMV to guarantee the best use of resources, maximum efficiency, and the highest industrial safety standards, while creating around 50 new jobs. It represents an important step toward developing ReOil into a commercially viable, industrial-scale chemical recycling technology with a processing capacity of up to 200,000 t/year by 2026.
Like the pilot plant, the ReOil® demo plant will be fully ISCC PLUS certified. ISCC PLUS is a sustainability standard well-recognized by all stakeholders for recycled and bio-based materials, providing traceability along the supply chain and verifying that companies meet environmental and social standards.
Together with Borealis, OMV aims to become a leader in the circular economy of plastics.
As MRC informed earlier, OMV reported utilization of 83% at its European refineries in H1, 2021, down by 3% on the year yet "relatively resilient in light of the COVID-19 impact." It expects the utilization rates at its European refineries to remain at the 2020 level this year. Last year its refineries reported 86% utilization. The company's refineries in Europe ran at 85% utilization in Q2, up from 81% in the year-ago quarter.
We remind that OMV is investing EUR40 million (USD48 million) to expand and modernize a steam cracker and associated units at its refining and petrochemicals complex at Burghausen, Germany. The upgrade will increase the site’s ethylene and propylene production capacity by 50,000 metric tons/year. Following a planned turnaround of the refinery, the revamped cracker and petchem units are expected to start operations in the third quarter of 2022. Initial groundwork is already underway ahead of the upgrade.
Ethylene and propylene are the main feedstocks for the production of polyethylene (PE) and polypropylene (PP), respectively.
According to MRC's ScanPlast report, Russia's estimated PE consumption totalled 2,047,100 tonnes in the first ten months of 2021, up by 17% year on year. Shipments of all grades of ethylene polymers increased. At the same time, PP shipments to the Russian market were 1,226,530 tonnes in January-October 2021, up by 26% year on year. Supply of propylene homopolymers (homopolymer PP) and block-copolymers of propylene (PP block copolymers) increased, whereas supply of injection moulding stat-copolymers of propylene (PP random copolymers) decreased significantly.
OMV produces and markets oil and gas, innovative energy and high-end petrochemical solutions – in a responsible way. With Group sales of EUR 23 bn and a workforce of around 20,000 employees in 2019, OMV Aktiengesellschaft is one of Austria’s largest listed industrial companies.