OMV and ALBA enter exclusive agreement to build an innovative sorting plant

OMV, the international, integrated oil, gas and chemicals company, headquartered in Vienna, and ALBA Recycling, the raw materials provider and leader in recycling and zero waste solutions, announce that they have started exclusive discussions to jointly build and operate an innovative sorting plant in Walldürn, Germany, for the further sorting of mixed plastic waste for chemical recycling. A final investment decision is expected in 2022

ALBA Recycling operates five sorting plants in Germany for lightweight packaging and sorts roughly one third of Germany’s lightweight packaging waste – over 800,000 t per year. ALBA Recycling thereby has Germany’s biggest sorting capacity at present combined with high output quality and high recycling rates.

The collaboration will secure the delivery of high-quality suitable feedstock for chemical recycling from ALBA Recycling to OMV to help close the loop for plastics. An innovative state-of-the-art sorting plant designed by ALBA Recycling will have the capacity to process 200,000+ t per year of post-consumer mixed waste into suitable feedstock for the production of virgin polyolefins. This innovative sorting process facilitates the further extraction of polyolefins from a waste fraction that currently requires incineration. This innovative sorting process has been tested at industrial scale and the output has been successfully processed as feedstock in OMV’s ReOil® pilot plant.

Maximilian Grasserbauer, OMV Vice President Plastic to Plastic: “Used plastics have a significant impact on the environment and climate. Reducing such impacts while retaining the usefulness of plastics requires a shift towards a more circular plastics system. Chemical recycling like the ReOil® process is the ideal addition to well-established mechanical recycling methods. In ALBA, we see a very promising cooperation partner who has many years of expertise in recycling used plastics and with whom we would like to invest in the future. In an innovative future that enables a bigger circular economy for plastic waste”.

“We are delighted to combine the sophisticated chemical recycling of OMV with our world-leading sorting technology to take the next step in the circular economy for a world without waste”, said Dr. Axel Schweitzer, owner of ALBA Recycling. “Chemical recycling is not a rival for mechanical recycling as mechanical recycling is the most efficient way to deal with mono-fractions from the sorting process. But chemical recycling is the only solution for mixed plastic waste like composite and multilayer plastics. We urgently need to recycle this material as well to close the loop for our customers. OMV and ALBA Recycling will turn this mixed plastic waste, which is incinerated today, into an important source to produce enough recycling material for the sustainable production of goods and packaging.”

OMV was among the first companies to develop a technology for the chemical recycling of used plastics more than a decade ago. A ReOil® pilot plant has been operating in the Schwechat Refinery in Austria since 2018, capable of turning 100 kg of used plastics into 100 litres of synthetic feedstock per hour. The pilot plant has been running for a total of 14,500 hours since its commissioning, enabling an improvement in the thermal cracking process and supporting the further scale up of the ReOil® technology. OMV has taken the final investment decision for a scaled-up demo plant with a capacity of 16,000 t per year, set to start operations in 2023. Ultimately, OMV’s goal is to establish a commercially viable, industrial-scale plant by 2026.

Picture from OMV

Written by Dominy Jones

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