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Chemical recycling appeals to Koreans

South Korea is backing the benefits of pyrolysis and is looking to achieve 10% of the nation’s plastic waste converted into oil by 2030.

The Ministry of Environment has established a task force with participants from research institutes, private companies and academics. According to reports, only about 0.1% of scrap plastic is currently processed using pyrolysis techniques to be used as fuel or raw material for new petrochemical products.

To boost the wider use of this chemical recycling, the government plans to revise regulations to offer certified emission reductions, also known as carbon credits, to companies that use oil made from waste plastic. Officials are also looking to use pyrolysis to create synthetic gas (syngas) to be used as the main ingredient for the production of methanol and ammonia.

Earlier his month SKC, a subsidiary of the giant South Korean chemical group SK, announced a collaboration with Japanese partner Kankyo Energy to install pilot pyrolysis equipment this year and scale up the technology by the first half of next year. The commercial launch of the service itself is expected in 2023. The new factory will handle 50 000 tonnes of plastic waste, producing around 35 000 tonnes of oil.

SKC is based in Seoul and also owns a large film facility in Georgia, USA. The company supplies 10% of global demand for polyester film.

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