Orlen to Recycle Plastics into Polymers

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Orlen to Recycle Plastics into Polymers
A truck sorts and separates plastics for recycling at a waste processing plant. © jantsarik / Shutterstock.com

Polish oil major PKN Orlen and KBR, an engineering and technology company based in Houston, recently signed a letter of intent to implement a recycling project to produce polymers and other chemicals from plastics.

Some polymers, like polytetrafluoroethylene (appears in solid form as a crystalline), are used as a friction-reducing additive in lubricant formulations.

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The project is in line with the oil major’s efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 20% by 2030 and to become a net zero emission company by 2050.

“We are a responsible company that tries to achieve real impact on the protection of the environment and to achieve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals,” Daniel Obaytek, president of the management board of Orlen, said in an Aug. 24 news release.

Orlen and KBR will build a plant to convert waste plastics into liquid and gaseous products, which can then be used in the production of chemicals, monomers and polymers. The facility will use Hydro-PRT technology licensed by KBR

Under the signed letter of intent and feasibility study, KBR pledges to implement the technical aspects of the project and provide expert knowledge. The waste plastics will be collected in Poland and the finished value-added products will be shipped to the domestic and European markets, Orlen said.

KBR lauded Hydro-PRT as a “breakthrough technology” that employs a patented process employing supercritical steam to convert all types of plastics into commercial products for delivering a “truly circular economy.”

“The cooperation with PKN Orlen is an important step in assessing the long-term potential of this breakthrough technology,” said Doug Kelly, KBR’s president for technology. “We are sure that Hydro-PRT will enable the company to achieve its corporate goals for sustainable development and decarburization.”

Subsidiary Orlen Oil is a major lubricant marketer in Poland and in Central and Eastern Europe. Orlen’s refineries in Plock and Jedlicze also feature base oil plants with capacities to make 162,000 tons per year and 83,000 t/y of Group I base oils, respectively.

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