​SK Innovation's petrochemical wing makes equity investment into pyrolysis startup

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 6, 2023, 14:07 Updated : March 6, 2023, 14:07

[Copurtesy of SK Incheon Petrochem]

SEOUL -- SK Incheon Petrochem, a petrochemical wing of South Korean conglomerate SK Group's intermediate holding company SK Innovation, made an equity investment into LD Carbon, a domestic startup specializing in pyrolysis that uses discarded car tires to extract oil.
The pyrolysis technique uses extreme heat and pressure to break down plastics or polymers such as rubber to extract oil, carbon black, and combustible gases. Carbon black is a solid carbon material that can be used in other applications such as the production of carbon fiber. Pyrolysis can also be used to process biomass-based wastes like livestock manure to produce biochar, which can capture carbon.
During the past few years, major South Korean petrochemical companies have kicked into high gear to commercialize the pyrolysis oil production technique. GS Caltex, a major refiner, kick-started a demonstration for the utilization of recycled oil made from plastic waste in December 2021. In January 2022, South Korean chemical giant LG Chem revealed its plan to build a supercritical pyrolysis plant with an annual capacity of 20,000 tons by 2024 to recycle up to 80 percent of waste resources.
SK Incheon Petroleum said in a statement that, without disclosing details, the company made an equity investment into LD Carbon. The two companies will cooperate to recycle used car tires to extract oil through pyrolysis processes. Collected oil will be used to manufacture some 20,000 tons of eco-friendly products including upcycle products that use recycled materials as their main material.
According to the petrochemical company, LD carbon will use invested funds to set up extra pyrolysis facilities to beef up the production of recycled oil. "We will make an early start in the recycled oil-based business model market through cooperation with LD Carbon and expand our business by partnering with global companies," SK Incheon Petrochem CEO Choi Yoon-seok said in a statement on March 6. 
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