Oil From Plastics Waste Converted to Certified Circular Polymers

Aramco engineers are developing digital technology to improve production of circular polymers.
Aramco engineers are developing digital technology to improve production of circular polymers. Courtesy of Aramco

Energy giants develop technology to create feedstock at scale for sustainable resins

Aramco, TotalEnergies and SABIC announced July 19 that they have for the first time in the Middle East and North Africa converted oil derived from plastics waste into ISCC+ certified circular polymers.  

ISCC is an acronym for International Sustainability and Carbon Certification, a service that certifies the circularity of plastics and other materials.  

The plastics pyrolysis oil, also called plastics waste derived oil, was processed at the Satorp refinery jointly owned by Aramco and TotalEnergies, in Jubail, Saudi Arabia. It was used as a feedstock by Petrokemya, a SABIC affiliate, to produce the certified circular polymers. 

The project seeks to create a domestic value chain for the advanced recycling of plastics to circular polymers in Saudi Arabia. The process allows the use of non-sorted plastics, which can be difficult to recycle mechanically, and thus contributes to solving disposal and reuse challenges of end-of-life plastics. 

A milestone for the project was obtaining ISCC+ certification to assure transparency and traceability of the recycled origin of feedstock and products. Three plants were involved in the process: Satorp refinery; Aramco’s Ju’aymah NGL Fractionation Plant; and Petrokemya. All obtained ISCC+ certification, enabling the production of circular polymers. 

“Our aim is to create circular solutions for plastics waste, while making progress on our ambition to achieve net-zero Scope 1 and Scope 2 greenhouse gas emissions across our wholly-owned operated assets by 2050,” said Mohammed Y. Al Qahtani, Aramco’s president of downstream operations. “By leveraging spare capacity of infrastructure, we aim to produce circular products that could be scaled up at low cost. Aramco is considering multiple ways of tapping into new technologies and leveraging existing assets to support the deployment of circular, more sustainable and lower-carbon products.” 

“This project shows collaboration across the petrochemical value chain to overcome upstream and downstream challenges in circular plastics,” said Sami Al-Osaimi, SABIC’s executive vice president of petrochemicals. “SABIC recently announced its target of 1 million metric tons of TruCircle solutions by 2030, to help provide our customers with more sustainable solutions.” 

TruCircle is a SABIC portfolio of certified renewable resins.  

SABIC, and TotalEnergies are founding members of the non-profit Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW), which aims to bring collective knowledge, resources and experience to address waste management challenges.

By Plastics Engineering | July 19, 2023

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