Neste claims to have doubled the amount of plastic waste processed at its Porvoo refinery in the latter half of 2023, reaching over 6,000 tons, and plans to develop the location into a renewable and circular solutions site.

A series of industrial-scale processing runs with increasing volumes of liquefied waste has recently concluded at the refinery. Those taking place in the second half of 2023 are said to have doubled the total amount of liquefied waste plastic processed by Neste to over 6,000 tons.

According to the company, the largest run this year exceeded 2,000 tons of liquefied waste plastic. Such processes result in ISCC PLUS-certified material for new plastics, Neste says.

“There is an urgent need to develop solutions to curb climate emissions, while simultaneously tackling the global plastic waste challenge,” says Heikki Färkkilä, vice president of Chemical Recycling at Neste. “We are processing increasing volumes of waste plastic, which is testament to our commitment to scale up chemical recycling.

“At the same time, these volumes also demonstrate the commitment of our partners, suppliers and the industry as a whole: We are confident we will see chemical recycling become a commercial-scale contributor to the circularity of plastics in the upcoming years.”

Existing refinery equipment is being used for current runs, with Neste aiming to reach the appropriate capability to begin continuous commercial processing. A new facility is under construction at the refinery in the hopes of one day processing 150,000 tons of liquefied waste plastic annually.

This marks the first phase of Neste’s PULSE project, which has received a €111 million investment from the company and is supported by the EU Innovation Fund. It is expected to be finalized in the first half of 2025 and, in total, process 400,000 tons of liquefied plastic waste every year.

Processing liquefied plastic waste is also thought to bring Neste closer to developing its Porvoo refinery into a renewable and circular solutions site. This transformation is set to proceed in phases and will require a series of separate investment decisions before its expected completion in the mid-2030s, with the transformation roadmap approximating a total investment of 2.5 BEUR.

Following this development, Neste expects a 3-million-ton long-term capacity potential for renewable and circular products – including circular feedstock for the polymers and chemicals industry, as well as diesel and aviation fuel.

“The COP28 declaration is a strong signal to all of us, and we want to be in the forefront of accelerating the green transition with our renewable and circular solutions,” says Matti Lehmus, the President and CEO of Neste. “The long term transformation of the Porvoo refinery is a key element in our renewables growth strategy, completing Neste’s journey to a 100% renewable and circular solutions provider when finalized. This will further strengthen our position in serving the future needs of our customers.”

“The demand for fossil fuels is declining in our traditional markets due to the growing share of renewable fuels and electrification,” adds Markku Korvenranta, executive vice president in Oil Products business unit. “I am excited to start this transformation roadmap of the Porvoo refinery to proactively create a sustainable future for the site.

“This transformation will be made possible by our decades long refining experience, specific expertise in processing challenging raw materials, and our highly skilled employees.”

The news comes after Neste launched a strategic study into the possibility of transforming its Porvoo refinery into a renewable, circular solutions site dealing in non-crude oils last September.

In related news, LyondellBasell has made a final investment decision to build an industrial-scale catalytic advanced recycling demonstration plant for its proprietary MoReTec technology. It is hoped that the development will help convert 50,000 tonnes of post-consumer plastic waste into feedstock every year.

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