Neste acquires minority stake in Alterra Energy

The collaboration includes joint technology development and global technology licensing, enabling the commercialization of Alterra’s thermochemical liquefaction technology in Europe.

alterra energy akron ohio plant
Alterra Energy's Akron, Ohio, industrial-scale waste plastics liquefaction unit
Photo courtesy of Alterra Energy

Neste Oyj, an oil refining and marketing company based in Espoo, Finland, says it has acquired a minority stake in Akron, Ohio-based Alterra Energy, a chemical recycling technology company. Their collaboration includes joint technology development and global technology licensing, enabling the partners to collaborate in commercializing Alterra’s thermochemical liquefaction technology in Europe. 

Alterra’s technology can liquify a range of postconsumer plastic streams into a material similar to crude oil. Neste can process and upgrade this material into feedstock for use in polymer and chemical production.

The companies say they are working toward a global rollout of Alterra’s liquefaction technology with a strong initial focus on Europe, accelerating the adoption of chemical recycling and developing capacity to turn hard-to-recycle postconsumer plastics into polymers and chemicals. Their collaboration supports Alterra Energy’s target of constructing a state-of-the-art liquefaction site in Europe beginning in 2021.

Alterra’s existing industrial-scale postconsumer plastics liquefaction plant in Akron produces commercial volumes that can be refined and upgraded into feedstock for the production of plastics and chemicals. This, together with Neste’s refining capability, enables sustainability-oriented brands globally to start introducing recycled content into their products and offerings, according to a news release from Neste.

Alterra says its 60 ton-per-day continuous chemical recycling facility in Akron has diverted millions of pounds of end-of-life plastic from landfills and other down-cycled applications.

“Collaboration with Alterra Energy strengthens Neste’s ecosystem of partnerships that are aimed at accelerating the transition to a circular plastics economy,” says Mercedes Alonso, executive vice president, renewable polymers and chemicals, at Neste. “It demonstrates our commitment to continue developing the chemical recycling industry by supporting some of the leading companies in commercializing promising technologies. This partnership also supports Neste’s aim of building new business growth based on chemical recycling, while marking another significant step towards our target of processing more than 1 million tons of plastic waste from 2030 onwards.” 

“The Neste-Alterra partnership will unlock the full potential of the circular economy, bringing our technology to more partners around the world, creating a cleaner planet,” says Alterra CEO Frederic Schmuck. “Neste is a world leader in renewable and circular solutions and its endorsement of Alterra's proprietary process is both extremely rewarding and validating.”
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