BP’s new technology to enable circularity for unrecyclable PET plastic waste

BP to complete pilot plant in US in 2020 to prove the technology

BP Infinia technology is designed to turn difficult-to-recycle PET plastic waste into recycled feedstocks that are interchangeable with those made from traditional hydrocarbon sources.
BP Infinia technology is designed to turn difficult-to-recycle PET plastic waste into recycled feedstocks that are interchangeable with those made from traditional hydrocarbon sources.

BP has developed an enhanced recycling technology, BP Infinia, which enables currently unrecyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic waste to be diverted from landfill, or incineration and instead transformed back into new, virgin-quality feedstocks.

BP plans to construct a $25mn pilot plant in the US to prove the technology, before progressing to full-scale commercialisation.

Tufan Erginbilgic, BP's downstream chief executive, said: “We see our Infinia technology as a game-changer for the recycling of PET plastics. It is an important stepping stone in enabling a stronger circular economy in the polyester industry and helping to reduce unmanaged plastic waste.

PET is the most commonly used plastic for beverage and rigid food packaging. Around 27 million tonnes of PET a year are used in these applications globally, with the majority – around 23 million tonnes – used in bottles.

Although PET is one of the most widely recycled types of plastic, less than 60% of the PET used for bottles is collected for recycling and only six percent of the total makes it back into new bottles. The rest is either ‘downcycled’, where products are recycled and re-used once before turning into waste, or destined for landfill and incineration.

BP Infinia technology is designed to turn difficult-to-recycle PET plastic waste – such as black food trays and coloured bottles – into recycled feedstocks that are interchangeable with those made from traditional hydrocarbon sources.

These recycled feedstocks can then be used to make new PET packaging that may be recycled again and again. This could reduce the need for downcycling and divert plastic waste from landfill and incineration.

Charles Damianides, vice president of petrochemicals technology, licensing and business development, continued: “BP is committed to fully developing and commercialising this technology. We have long experience and a proven track record of scaling technology and we firmly believe that this innovation can ultimately contribute to making all types of polyester waste infinitely recyclable.

BP’s new pilot plant is planned to be located at its research and development hub in Naperville, Illinois. It is expected to be operational in late 2020 to prove the technology on a continuous basis.

BP sees the potential to develop multiple full-scale commercial plants using this technology around the world. If deployed at scale in a number of facilities, BP estimates that the technology has the potential to prevent billions of PET bottles and trays from ending up in landfill, or incineration every year.

For the latest refining and petrochemical industry related videos, subscribe to our YouTube page.

For all the latest refining and petrochemical news from the Middle East countries, follow us on Twitter and LinkedIn, like us on Facebook.

You may also like

Dow named among Derwent Top 100 Global Innovators in 2020
The Top 100 Global Innovators on the list generated more than $4.5tn in revenue in 2019
India’s Reliance Industries to expand Dahej manufacturing division at a cost of $713mn
The proposed EDC plant will produce 500 kilo tonnes per annum of PVC
GE successfully deliver electrical solutions to Shell’s petrochemical plant in the Netherlands
GE’s variable speed drive system can reach steadily over approximately 90% energy efficiency for a compressor train
Versalis to unveil chemical recycling towards infinitely recyclable plastic
Versalis will leverage its technological and industrial expertise to build a first plant with a capacity of 6,000 tonnes per year at the Mantova site

MOST POPULAR