​LG Chem breaks ground for plastic recycling and aerogel insulation plant in southwestern port city

By Park Sae-jin Posted : March 30, 2023, 17:44 Updated : April 3, 2023, 10:45

[Gettyimages Bank]

SEOUL -- In an effort to create a sustainable production cycle for recycled plastic products, LG Chem, the chemical unit of South Korea's LG Group, has broken ground for a 310-billion-won ($230 million) plant in the southwestern port city of Dangjin. The plant will have a super-critical pyrolysis facility to break down plastics to create oil and a production facility for the company's aerogel insulation product.
Pyrolysis involves extreme heat and pressure to break down plastics into oil. Recycled oil can be reused for fuel or for manufacturing other oil-based products. During the last five years, South Korean chemical companies including LG Chem, GS Caltex, and SK Innovation have started the extraction of recycled oil from retrieved plastics. The pyrolysis technique is also being tested and demonstrated across the country by state-funded institutes and private companies.
Aerogel is LG's insulation material comprised of about 95 percent gas and is known as the lightest solid in the world. The South Korean-made aerogel is regarded as one of the world's promising next-generation insulation materials. According to LG Chem, a block made of feather-light aerogel has non-burning and waterproof characteristics, making it a versatile insulation material.
LG Chem said that the company broke ground for the pyrolysis and aerogel plant in Dangjin some 78 kilometers 48.4 miles southwest of Seoul on March 30. 310 billion won will be injected into the plant scheduled to be finished by the end of 2024. The plant will be about the size of 32 football fields.
According to LG Chem, the global pyrolysis oil market is expected to grow from 700,000 tons in 2020 to 3.3 million tons by 2030 with an annual average growth rate of 17 percent. "The Dangjin plant will become the global Mecca of eco-friendly materials. LG Chem will play the role of a leading company in pursuing sustainable development and net carbon-zero goals in the global petrochemical sector," LG Chem Chairman Shin Hak-cheol said in a statement on March 30. 
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