SK geo centric partners with Britain's Plastic Energy to build Asia's biggest pyrolysis plant

By Lim Chang-won Posted : November 16, 2022, 14:36 Updated : November 16, 2022, 14:36

[Courtesy of SK geo centric]

SEOUL -- SK geo centric, a chemical company affiliated with South Korea's SK Group, joined forces with Plastic Energy, a chemical recycling company in Britain, to build Asia's biggest pyrolysis plant capable of recycling 66,000 tons of plastic waste per year. Pyrolysis is a chemical recycling process that can convert plastic waste into high-quality oil.  

SK geo centric (SKGC) will build a pyrolysis plant in a recycling cluster in the southeastern industrial city of Ulsan by the second half of 2025, using Plastic Energy’s patented recycling technology that turns difficult-to-recycle plastic waste into a valuable raw material that can be used to create virgin-quality polymers. 

Under a preliminary agreement, the two companies would promote a joint project in the metropolitan area and expand their pyrolysis business in Asia. SKGC will build a post-treatment plant with an annual production capacity of 100,000 tons. "We can accelerate the creation of a recycling cluster in Ulsan through cooperation with Plastic Energy with excellent technology in the field of pyrolysis," SKGC CEO Na Kyung-soo said in a statement on November 16. 

Plastic Energy CEO Carlos Monreal described South Korea as an important market for the chemical recycling of end-of-life plastics and said that his company would help SKGC realize a unique vision of deploying different technologies in one place for different kinds of plastic recycling. 

The accumulation of plastic waste has become a serious global problem. Chemical recycling breaks down and returns plastic to its pure, raw material form. It is an attractive way to address the explosive growth of plastic waste and disposal problems. SKGC has established plastic recycling partnerships with foreign companies to strengthen its plastic recycling business. 

In June 2022, SKGC signed a deal with Suez SA, a Paris-based utility company, and Loop Industries, a Canadian plastic recycling company, to set up a chemical recycling joint venture plant in France with an annual production capacity of 70,000 tons. A month later, the South Korean company signed a strategic cooperation agreement with France's environmental service company Veolia to tap a rapidly growing plastic recycling market in the Asia-Pacific region. 

South Korean research institutes, private companies and academics have joined hands to popularize pyrolysis recycling as a method to respond to climate change. SKGC and its parent company, SK Innovation (SKI), have developed post-treatment technology to remove impurities.

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