The three companies have joined forces to develop the RewindTM Mix process, which purifies the plastics pyrolysis oils allowing the direct and undiluted processing in existing petrochemical plants for the production of circular plastics and is described as a "promising solution for the chemical recycling of plastic waste".

The RewindTM Mix process removes impurities such as silicon, chlorine, diolefins, and metals from the plastics pyrolysis oils produced, allowing the direct and undiluted feed to petrochemical units. Pyrolysis is a promising pathway for the chemical recycling of plastic waste, which otherwise would end up incinerated or in landfills, and the production of food-grade, low-carbon footprint, recycled plastics. This new pyrolysis oil upgrading process will expand its deployment and allow the massive introduction of recycled pyrolysis oil in existing steam cracking assets.

Chemical recycling now represents a innovative solution complementary to mechanical recycling. Polyolefins from petrochemistry represent about half of the 400 Mt/y world plastic production and a major target in terms of plastic recycling. Today, mechanical recycling faces limitations due to feedstock quality (mix of polymers and impurities content) that directly impact product quality and potential applications, in particular for food-grade use.

Leveraging complementary skills and expertiseThe RewindTM Mix process has been developed at the Repsol Technology Lab and IFPEN facilities, with extensive pilot plant testing of representative pyrolysis oils, reproducing the exact conditions of the future industrial plant. It can advantageously be integrated within the existing petrochemical units.

The process relies upon Axens’ industrial technologies and catalysts and on the experience of the three partners in the field of petrochemical industry. Based on this solid basis and the extensive pilot testing, the partners will now study the first industrial application in a Repsol facility, while Axens will commercialize the technology through licensing.