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Rotterdam proposed location for Enerkem waste-to-chemicals plant

A partnership comprising AkzoNobel, Van Gansewinkel, Air Liquide, AVR and Enerkem is proposing to build a waste-to-chemicals plant in Rotterdam in collaboration with the Port of Rotterdam, the City of Rotterdam, the province of South Holland and InnovationQuarter.

The new chemical plant will use Enerkem’s innovative technology to convert residual waste into methanol, a raw material used in the chemical industry. The methanol will then be converted into chemicals such as acetic acid (e.g., for fibers and adhesives), thickening agents and dimethyl ether (clean propellant gases).

Enerkem’s platform is a 4-step thermochemical process that consists of: feedstock preparation; gasification; cleaning and conditioning of syngas; and catalytic synthesis.

These chemicals are currently produced almost entirely from fossil fuels. The planned facility will therefore provide a sustainable alternative by producing a renewable chemical and will represent a significant step toward a sustainable and circular approach to waste management in Rotterdam.

The members of the consortium will now work together to optimize and complete feasibility of the business case, which includes the selection of the exact location within the port of Rotterdam and the start of the application process for the necessary permits. This phase is expected to result in a conclusive decision on the construction of the plant in the first half of 2017.

The project is aligned with the Dutch Government’s ambitious plan for the circular economy which was recently presented to the Parliament by the State Secretary Dijksma. The partnership sees Enerkem’s technology as a complement to existing recycling technologies.

The consortium anticipates that chemical recycling will become increasingly important in the coming years, given increasing end-product complexity and the growing demands on chemical intermediates. In producing a high quality raw material for the chemical industry, Enerkem’s technology adds a new category of recycling in the waste hierarchy and takes the ‘waste-to-resource’ approach to the next level.

Enerkem’s technology has been extensively tested and developed over the past 15 years. A commercial facility has begun operation in 2015 and was recently certified according to the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) system. (Earlier post.)


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