Waste to chemicals project expands

W2C  project The plant expected to convert up to 360,000t of waste into 220,000t of bio- methanol. Credit: Port of Rotterdam

Europe’s first ‘waste to chemicals’ (W2C) project to convert residual flows of non-recyclable waste materials into clean methanol is expanding with a new partner to join a consortium including the Port of Rotterdam.

Shell will become an equal equity partner in the proposed project to operate a bio-methanol plant expected to convert up to 360,000t of waste into 220,000t (270m litres) of bio- methanol. This represents a saving of approximately 300,000t of CO2 emissions, when compared to the production of methanol from fossil fuels.

“We are thrilled to have Shell join our group of partners,” said Marco Waas, chairman of W2C and director of RD&I at Nouryon (formerly AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals), which in addition to the Port of Rotterdam is working with Air Liquide and Enerkem.

Mr Waas added: “The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) coming into effect in 2021, as well as other environmental initiatives such as the Circular Economy Package are creating an ideal environment for leading companies to drive sustainable growth through innovation.”

Enerkem technology

The facility will be built within the Botlek area of the Port of Rotterdam using Enerkem’s proprietary technology. It will convert non-recyclable mixed waste, including plastics, into syngas and then into clean methanol for use in the chemical industry and for the transportation sector.

Comprising two production lines, the plant will benefit from the infrastructure available within the Port of Rotterdam. Air Liquide will supply the required oxygen and Nouryon the hydrogen raw material. The current plan is for the facility’s sustainable methanol output to be purchased by Nouryon and Shell.

The consortium aims to take the final investment decision later this year as it pursues further development work and finalises the selection of an engineering and procurement contractor.

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