alterra recycling ohio
The Alterra plastic scrap liquefaction facility in Akron, Ohio
Photo courtesy of Alterra Energy

Alterra tech to be distributed in Europe by Neste

Ohio-based plastic scrap liquefication technology will be distributed in Europe by Finland-based Neste Oyj.

Neste Oyj, Finland says it has purchased the European rights to plastic scrap liquefaction technology developed by Ohio-based Alterra Energy. Neste says the move will “further solidify” its “efforts to advance chemical recycling.”

The Finnish petrochemical firm with a growing presence in sustainable energy describes Alterra as having developed a proprietary thermochemical solution for liquefaction of hard-to-recycle plastic. “In Akron, Ohio, the company is already running an industrial-scale facility that transforms end-of-life plastics into an intermediate product, which can be further refined into raw material for new plastics and other petrochemical products,” Neste says.

In 2020, Neste acquired a minority stake in Alterra Energy, and the Finnish firm says subsequently it has further processed liquefied plastic scrap sourced from, among others, Alterra Energy in a series of trial runs at its refinery in Finland.

Together with Belgium-based Ravago, Neste says it also plans to set up a joint venture to deploy the Alterra Energy technology in Vlissingen, the Netherlands. Neste says it is conducting a feasibility study to examine investing in proprietary pretreatment and upgrading capabilities to scale up processing capacities for liquefied plastic scrap at its Porvoo refinery in Finland.

“Acquiring the rights to Alterra Energy’s technology in Europe enables us to offer a holistic solution to our partners,” says Heikki Färkkilä, a vice president with Neste Renewable Polymers and Chemicals. “Neste will be able to provide the full chemical recycling package: from waste plastic to product, offering high-quality drop-in feeds for the production of new polymers and chemicals.”

Neste has set a target to process more than 1 million tons of plastic annually from 2030 onward. “The ongoing joint technology development between Neste and Alterra Energy and the continued processing of mixed plastic feeds in the Akron facility have given Neste confidence that the Alterra Energy technology is among the winning solutions for the liquefaction of waste plastic material,” the firm says.

Frederic Schmuck, CEO of Alterra Energy, says, “We are pleased that Neste, a global leader in sustainability, has chosen Alterra Energy’s advanced recycling technology to further accelerate its efforts toward circularity of plastics throughout Europe. Throughout the rest of the world, we will continue to support petrochemical industry players in meeting their sustainability commitments to brand owners and consumers.”

While Neste has acquired the European rights to the technology, Alterra says it will continue to operate independently in the rest of the world with the aim of commercializing its technology through licensing.