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ReOil pilot plant will tackle “impossible” plastics

Austrian firm OMV is building a chemical recycling demo plant, based on its proprietary ReOil technology. The oil, gas and chemicals company says it intends to construct an industrial-scale plant by 2026.

The patented chemical recycling technology converts plastic waste into synthetic feedstock, under moderate pressure and normal refinery operating temperatures. The new investment covers the construction of a recycling plant with a design capacity of 16 000 tonnes per year at the OMV site in Schwechat, Austria. Production is scheduled to start in early 2023 while the project will create 50 new jobs.

The innovative site will target plastic waste that cannot be mechanically recycled and would otherwise be sent to waste incineration. The feedstock will be sourced in Austria, in close cooperation with local waste management companies, and will consist mainly of polyolefins. Examples of such plastic waste include food packaging, plastic cups, lids from takeaway coffee and confectionery packaging.

OMV is already running a ReOil pilot plant at its Schwechat refinery, which opened doors in 2018. The facility can process 100 kg of used plastics into 100 litres of synthetic feedstock per hour. ‘The pilot plant has been running for a total of 13 000 hours since its commissioning and thus enabled an improvement in the thermal cracking process and supported the further scale up of the ReOil technology,’ says company ceo Alfred Stern.

‘The ReOil pilot plant has shown that we are on the right track with our in-house developed technology and with our efforts in this field. We are confident that chemical recycling can complement the available mechanical recycling technologies and that it represents a sustainable and profitable solution,’ he adds.

‘With the decision to build a demo plant, we are now taking the next step toward circular economy and thus toward reducing our CO2 emissions.’ The final step in OMV’s strategy is developing ReOil into a commercially viable, industrial-scale chemical recycling technology with a processing capacity of up to 200 000 tonnes per year by 2026.

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