Remondis, BASF and Quantafuel to cooperate on chemical recycling

Rasmus Kærsgaard (Quantafuel, left) and Michael Bachtler (BASF, right) stand in front of a forklift and examine a bale of mixed plastic feedstock at Quantafuel's pyrolysis plant in Skive, Denmark
Shredded mixed plastics at Quantafuel's first
commercial-scale plant in Skive, Denmark
21.04.2021 − 

Chemicals concern BASF, the waste management company Remondis and Norwegian technology provider Quantafuel have signed a memorandum of understanding covering the chemical recycling of plastic waste. Together, they will "evaluate a cooperation in chemical recycling including a joint investment into a pyrolysis plant for plastic waste," the companies said in a joint press release issued Wednesday morning.

As part of the cooperation, Remondis would supply suitable plastic waste to the plant and BASF use the resulting pyrolysis oil as feedstock for production in its "ChemCycling" project. Quantafuel is to provide the technology and to operate the plant. The location of the pyrolysis plant will be evaluated jointly.

Regulatory framework is key

Legislation on EU and national level will create the framework for chemical recycling and therefore shape how it can contribute to a more circular economy for plastics. "This includes acknowledging that products based on chemically recycled feedstock are counted towards achieving recycled content targets," said the partners. BASF wants to allocate the share of recycled material to its end products according to a third-party certified mass balance approach.

"Solving the plastic waste challenge will only be possible in a favourable regulatory environment,” said BASF’s Lars Kissau, Senior Vice President Global Strategic Business Development Petrochemicals. He highlighted his concern's goal of raising the amount of recycled feedstock it processes annually to 250,000 tonnes by 2025. “In this regard, it is important to use feedstock derived from plastic waste that would otherwise not have undergone recycling,” he said. A partnership with companies from in the waste management and recycling sector as well as with innovative technology providers was "an ideal constellation to build a sustainable circular economy model for previously non-recycled plastic waste," Mr Kissau added.

Jürgen Ephan, Managing Director Remondis Recycling, pointed out the importance of the joint project: “In order to achieve the sustainability objectives set by the European Union in its visionary Green Deal, it is essential to increase recycling quotas wherever technically and economically feasible. We believe that chemical recycling can provide a meaningful contribution and are therefore happy to join forces with BASF and Quantafuel on the way towards a higher rate of recyclability.”

Steady progress in ramp-up of Skive plant

Quantafuel's CEO, Kjetil Bøhn, described Remondis und BASF as "are excellent partners for realising an ambitious project like this in Central Europe on a tight timeline, and operating it successfully for the long term.” He reported steady progress in the ramp-up of his company's first commercial production plant in Skive in Denmark. When it reaches capacity, the plant is to process around 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year.

BASF and Quantafuel have an existing cooperation. The chemicals giant invested €20m in the Norwegian technology company in 2019 and supplies catalysts for its recycling processes. BASF has also secured a right of first refusal for the entire volume of pyrolysis oil and purified hydrocarbons produced at Quantafuel's Skive plant.

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