American oil and gas major, ExxonMobil, that is equally operating in Nigeria, is currently focusing on accelerating investment in safe, scalable and economically viable solutions to help address the challenge of plastic waste in the environment through a portfolio of projects that has grown to more than 30 ongoing projects across several countries.
To this end, the big oil is planning to build its first, large-scale plastic waste advanced recycling facility in Baytown, Texas, and is expected to start operations by year-end 2022.
Interestingly, ExxonMobil is a founding member of the Alliance to End Plastic Waste. For the Alliance, ending plastic waste is ambitious. ‘’But it is through collaboration and collective action that this complex problem can be solved’’, it says.
Since 2019, the Alliance has rallied over 80 member companies, project partners, allies and supporters who are committed to ending plastic waste in the environment with it. ‘’We are bringing together a diverse network of resources and expertise. From technical leaders, engineers, scientists and practitioners, we are working together to create and scale innovative solutions around the world.
‘’Together with policy makers, non-governmental organisations and local communities, we are driving and delivering transformational change: to end plastic waste in the environment and protect the planet’’, it says.
Strongly, the Alliance holds the view that ending plastic waste is achievable through innovative and impactful solutions, deployed at-scale whilst partnering with communities around the world. All this is further bolstered by catalysing investment capital.
By recycling plastic waste back into raw materials that can be used to make plastic and other valuable products, the technology could help address the challenge of plastic waste in the environment.
A smaller, temporary facility, is already operational and producing commercial volumes of certified circular polymers that will be marketed by the end of this year to meet growing demand.
President of ExxonMobil Chemical Company, Karen McKee, says “we’ve proven our proprietary advanced recycling technology in Baytown, and we’re scaling up operations to supply certified circular polymers by year-end.
“Availability of reliable advanced recycling capacity will play an important role in helping address plastic waste in the environment, and we are evaluating wide-scale deployment in other locations around the world.”
The new facility follows validation of ExxonMobil’s initial trial of its proprietary process for converting plastic waste into raw materials. To date, the trial has successfully recycled more than 1,000 metric tons of plastic waste, the equivalent of 200 million grocery bags, and has demonstrated the capability of processing 50 metric tons per day.
Upon completion of the large-scale facility, the operation in Baytown will be among North America’s largest plastic waste recycling facilities and will have an initial planned capacity to recycle 30,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year.
Operational capacity could be expanded quickly if effective policy and regulations that recognize the lifecycle benefits of advanced recycling are implemented for residential and industrial plastic waste collection and sorting systems.
ExxonMobil is developing plans to build approximately 500,000 metric tons of advanced recycling capacity globally over the next five years.
In Europe, the company is collaborating with Plastic Energy on an advanced recycling plant in Notre Dame de Gravenchon, France, which is expected to process 25,000 metric tons of plastic waste per year when it starts up in 2023, with the potential for further expansion to 33,000 metric tons of annual capacity.
The company is also assessing sites in the Netherlands, the US. Gulf Coast, Canada, and Singapore.
To meet customer demand for circular polymers, ExxonMobil has obtained certifications through the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Plus (ISCC Plus) process for several of its facilities. ISCC Plus is widely recognized by industry as an effective system to certify products that result from advanced recycling using mass balance attribution of plastic waste.
ISCC is however, a globally leading certification system that offers solutions to address sustainability requirements for all feedstocks and markets. It is concerned with contributing to the implementation of environmentally, socially and economically sustainable production and use of all kinds of biomass in global supply chains.
To help address the need for increased collection and sorting of plastic waste, ExxonMobil formed a joint venture with Agilyx Corporation, Cyclyx International LLC, focused on developing innovative solutions for aggregating and pre-processing large volumes of plastic waste that can be converted into feedstocks for valuable products. Cyclyx will help supply ExxonMobil’s advanced recycling projects, and will aim to do the same for other customers.
ExxonMobil, one of the largest publicly traded international energy companies, uses technology and innovation to help meet the world’s growing energy needs. It is boasting of holding an industry-leading inventory of resources, is one of the largest refiners and marketers of petroleum products, and its chemical company is one of the largest in the world.