LyondellBasel, one of the largest plastics, chemicals and refining companies in the world, today announced the successful start-up of its MoReTec molecular recycling facility at its Ferrara, Italy, site. LyondellBasell’s proprietary MoReTec advanced recycling technology aims to return post-consumer plastic waste to its molecular form for use as a feedstock for new plastic materials.
LyondellBasell conducts base research to lead the polymers industry toward advanced plastics recycling. In July 2018, LyondellBasell announced a collaborative effort with Germany’s Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) to advance its molecular recycling efforts. This collaboration proved the efficiency of the MoReTec technology at laboratory scale and, in October 2019 the company announced the construction of the Ferrara pilot plant. Today, the company’s research and development teams in Germany, Italy and United States are actively working to explore potential commercial-scale applications.
The pilot plant is capable of processing between 5 and 10 kilograms (kg) of household plastic waste per hour and builds on our research to date. The pilot aims to understand the interaction of various waste types in the molecular recycling process, test the various catalysts, and confirm the process temperature and time needed to decompose the plastic waste into molecules. The goal is to have this completed over the next couple of years and then plan for an industrial scale unit.