Sabic and Plastic Energy set to start construction of pioneering advanced recycling unit increase production of certified circular polymers

Source: press release, 21 January 2021

SPEAR – SABIC Plastic Energy Advanced Recycling BV – significant upscale of the production of certified circular polymers
SPEAR – SABIC Plastic Energy Advanced Recycling BV – significant upscale of the production of certified circular polymers (illustration: SPEAR)

In another significant contribution towards the development of a circular economy for plastics, SABIC and Plastic Energy are set to commence construction on the first commercial unit to produce its flagship certified circular polymers, part of the TRUCIRCLE™ portfolio, which are made from the upcycling of mixed and used plastic.

SABIC, a global leader in diversified chemicals, along with partner Plastic Energy, a pioneer in chemical plastics recycling, are set to start the construction phase for the unit, which will be based in Geleen, the Netherlands and is expected to become operational in the second half of 2022. The project will be realised under a 50-50 joint venture called SPEAR (SABIC Plastic Energy Advanced Recycling BV) and is being executed with a Top Sector Energy Subsidy from the Ministry of Economic Affairs in the Netherlands.

As part of the project’s market foundation stage, SABIC has worked together with Plastic Energy and leading customers and converters to produce and commercialise certified circular polymers since early 2019. The new unit will enable SABIC to significantly upscale the production of certified circular polymers to provide customers with greater access to sustainable materials which have been recycled, repurposed and produced in a way that can help protect our planet’s natural resources, whilst acting as a drop-in solution.

“Advancements in this pioneering project take us one step closer to driving the change needed to become a circular global industry,” says Fahad Al Swailem, Vice President, PE & Sales at SABIC. “We have overcome significant external, global challenges to reach this important milestone and remain fully committed to closing the loop on used plastic. We are continuing to collaborate on an unprecedented level with our partners upstream and downstream to achieve this.”

“It has been an exciting journey in making our vision of building advanced recycling plants come to life, and we are delighted to announce the construction of this new facility with SABIC,” says Carlos Monreal, Founder and CEO of Plastic Energy. “We have worked jointly with SABIC towards our common goal of making plastics more sustainable and moving towards a more circular economy for plastics.”

SABIC’s certified circular polymers are produced using Plastic Energy’s advanced recycling technology to convert low quality, mixed, and used plastic, otherwise destined for incineration or landfill, into TACOIL. The TACOIL produced in the new commercial unit will be used by SABIC in their production process as an alternative to traditional fossil materials to create new circular polymers.

The circular polymers form part of SABIC’s TRUCIRCLE portfolio and services for circular innovations. Launched in 2019, the TRUCIRCLE portfolio is a considerable milestone on the journey towards closing the loop and creating a circular economy for plastics and intends to provide manufacturers with access to more sustainable materials. The TRUCIRCLE portfolio spans design for recyclability, mechanically recycled products, certified circular products from feedstock recycling of used plastic and certified renewables products from bio-based feedstock.