Dutch-Belgian consortium builds first profitable oil-from-plastic plant

Plastic To Chemicals

Plastic To Chemicals
Commissioned by a Dutch-Belgian consortium, the Eindhoven-based company BlueAlp builds an oil-from-plastic plant within an innovative new waste processing ecosystem in Ostend, Belgium. This puts our country at the forefront of reusing plastics that cannot be recycled. The installation will be integrated in a durable and circular waste processing concept from the innovative Belgian company RenaSci. They have found a way to completely convert waste into energy and raw materials without residual waste. RenaSci builds this globally unique concept in Ostend, Belgium. All waste flows come in, are efficiently separated and the plastics that are difficult to recycle are processed in the oil-from-plastic factory. The oil-from-plastic plant is part of an overall waste processing ecosystem and therefore profitable to operate. RenaSci uses the Dutch BlueAlp technology and the matching patent to build the plant. The Dutch-Belgian consortium consists of technical service providers Mourik and Petrogas, oil and fuel supplier Den Hartog and the Belgian RenaSci. The contracts were signed today and the oil-from-plastic plant will be put into operation by the end of December 2019.

“Experts worldwide are experimenting with the recovery of raw materials from waste plastic. We have succeeded in developing a process in which almost 100% of the waste plastic is reused and there is money to be earned with it as well. This is a great example of how the circular economy contributes to a sustainable future”, says Chris van der Ree, director of Petrogas and co-initiator of the project.

Plastics are also circular
Van der Ree: The secret of the innovative process is a patented way of converting plastic to oil. The process can yield various kinds of oil, but the main product is EN590-based diesel. This method yields a higher return than the methods used in other experimental pilots.

Van der Ree: ‘Out of one kilo of plastic, we produce almost a litre of oil, which means a yield of more than 80%. In addition, CO₂ that is released is not emitted, but reused as raw material for the plant. The figures show that thanks to BlueAlp’s technology, 1,200 kilo CO₂ per tonne of processed plastic is not released in the environment, and that the production of a litre of oil has 68% less impact on the environment compared with the production of a litre of regular fossil fuel. The BlueAlp plant processes 21,000 tonnes of waste plastic on an annual basis.’
The plant is built on the grounds of circular waste processor RenaSci in Ostend. ‘Every year, 120,000 tonnes of waste are brought in here. This is sorted and the plastics that are difficult to process go to the plastic-to-oil factory. In this way, for example, we reuse agricultural plastics and the plastic foils that are used to keep food fresh. ‘That is normally all dumped or burned. We, on the other hand, make new raw materials from it.’

The consortium partners are uniquely complementary. With Mourik and Petrogas as technical service providers, who are responsible for the realization and the Belgian RenaSci as initiators and operators of the circular and sustainable waste processing plant in Ostend and Den Hartog as a fuel supplier that focuses on CO2-saving and less environmentally harmful fuels, a powerful strategic partnership is created. With this transaction, RenaSci and Den Hartog also acquire an interest in the Petrogas and BlueAlp group.

The BlueAlp technology has been tested, demonstrated and successfully used in a test factory in Switzerland. After the successful completion of that experiment, the factory was dismantled again. The independent institute Energy Research Center Netherlands (ECN) has reviewed the entire process and made a positive assessment of it.

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