Green tie-ups: Marie Tecnimont acquires PMMA recycling tech; Idemitsu/Toray to create biomass ABS supply chain in Japan

Marie Tecnimont acquires PMMA recycling tech

Italy’s Maire Tecnimont says that its subsidiary NextChem has signed an agreement with Biorenova to acquire, scale up and industrialise the proprietary CatC technology, a continuous chemical recycling process to recover monomers (building blocks for the plastic value chain) with ultra-high levels of purity from sorted plastic waste, particularly Polymethylmethacrylate (PMMA, commonly plexiglass).

NextChem intends to scale up CatC’s industrialisation in the plexiglass market, while progressively expanding its application to other value-added plastics, as this technology could also be suitable for the depolymerisation of polystyrene, a largely used plastic with numerous industrial applications from food packaging to electronics and automotive, among others. Moreover, a further optimisation of the technology could allow to address the even larger polyolefins market.

The CatC technology has been developed in the Abruzzo region (central Italy), where the first market development plant has already been built. Monomer samples have been fully validated by perspective off-takers. Once scaled up, CatC would provide a cost-effective, competitive alternative to other existing depolymerisation technologies for plexiglass, as the obtained monomers can be used directly without any further treatment.

Biorenova is engaged in the development of circular economy proprietary technologies, particularly in recovering materials through CatC technology, and hydrogen bioproduction.

NextChem will hold a 51% stake of a new company (NewCo) which will own the CatC technology. Biorenova will maintain the remaining 49%. Closing, is expected to take place by 30 April 2023, subject to customary conditions. This acquisition is strategically significant since it allows the group to expand its technological portfolio and enter new markets.

Expected revenues coming from such activity are expected to progressively grow to an overall value of EUR30 million by 2028. After this ramp-up period, yearly revenues are expected to be in the EUR15-20 million range.

NextChem through the NewCo will act as technology licensor, high-value process engineering and critical equipment provider.

Idemitsu/Toray to create biomass ABS supply chain in Japan

In other news, Japanese compatriots Toray Industries and Idemitsu Kosan say that they have agreed to build a supply chain for plastics made from biomass naphtha. They would manufacture biomass styrene monomer derived from biomass naphtha and acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) resin made from that monomer.

Idemitsu will leverage the mass balance method to manufacture biomass styrene monomer. Toray’s Chiba Plant will use that polymerise to become the first in Japan to produce biomass ABS resin, starting in October this year.

It has become vital in recent years to combat global warming, which has resulted from rising carbon dioxide emissions. Idemitsu and Toray recognise that striving to achieve a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 is a key business challenge. They both explored establishing a biomass plastics supply chain by deploying eco-friendly biomass raw materials.

Because of its plant-derived raw materials, biomass naphtha’s carbon dioxide emissions are lower than those of petroleum-derived naphtha. Idemitsu and Toray seek to lower emissions from the plastics sector through their joint efforts.

Idemitsu aims to achieve net zero carbon dioxide emissions from its own operations by 2050. It will do so by maintaining stable supplies of energy and materials that are essential for industry and daily living while tapping the technologies, expertise, and infrastructure that it has amassed over years of handling fossil fuels.

Toray seeks to lower greenhouse gas emissions by expanding Green Innovation businesses that help resolve environmental, resources, and energy issues. It also aims to develop technologies and products that help absorb these emissions, thus helping to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 internally and for the economy as a whole.

The two companies will leverage a robust partnership in driving a materials transition to a carbon-neutral, circular economy by building a biomass plastics supply chain.


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