Borealis explores Swedish plastic chemical recycling effort

Borealis explores Swedish plastic chemical recycling effort

Company is studying feasibility of securing scrap feedstock for plant in Stenungsund, Sweden.

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Vienna-based Borealis says it has initiated a new project to secure an increased supply of chemically recycled feedstock to produce base chemicals and polyolefin-based products. A feasibility study is now underway for a chemical recycling unit to be established at the Borealis production site in Stenungsund, Sweden, says the firm.

The study is being funded in part by a grant awarded by the Swedish Energy Agency and is being carried out with project partner Stena Recycling, which is based in Sweden. “Provided a successful feasibility study and final investment decision, operations are expected to begin in 2024,” says Borealis.

The unit is being designed to “help accelerate the transformation to plastics circularity by enabling the replacement on a larger scale of fossil-based feedstock by integrating more chemically recycled feedstock via the mass balance model,” adds the firm.

Borealis will also cooperate with Finland-based Fortum Recycling and Waste on a project involving the sourcing of plastic scrap to the chemical recycling unit. Fortum will apply for public funding for a feasibility study, according to Borealis.

Chemical recycling can enable plastic streams of lower quality to be recycled chemically into high-quality base chemicals (including olefins) and polyolefins, says Borealis. Borealis currently produces a portfolio of resins called Borcycle M created via mechanical recycling means and Borcycle C resins made via chemical recycling methods.

“Borealis has set ambitious circular economy goals as part of our commitment to re-inventing for more sustainable living,” says Martijn van Koten, Borealis executive vice president of base chemicals and operations. “The integration of Borcycle C into our cracker in Stenungsund, Sweden, is a clear example of our circular efforts: built on innovation and collaboration, it enables us to supply sufficient amounts of chemically-recycled base chemicals and polyolefins to the market.”

“The project we are carrying out together with Borealis at Sweden’s first plastic recycling hub is a very exciting and important step in increasing the proportion of recycled plastic,” says Martin Leander, head of commodities at Stena Recycling. “Through this cooperation we can contribute to increased material recycling and reduced climate impact by chemically recycling plastic [scrap] that is currently incinerated. Plastic is an important material, and we now have additional opportunities to help our customers find circular solutions.”

“Fortum is driving the transformation to a low-emissions energy system and optimal resource efficiency,” says Christian Helgesson, CEO of Fortum Recycling and Waste. “Key parts of that development is creation of CO2-neutral feedstock where harmful substances are removed. Working with like-minded partners such as Borealis is the best way to accelerate the change. We are convinced that smart and collaborative solutions will improve resource efficiency.”