LyondellBasell’s MoReTec technology is capable of converting post-consumer plastic waste into feedstock, which use can be used in the production of new plastic materials


LyondellBasell has commenced production at the new pilot molecular recycling facility in Ferrara, Italy. (Credit: LyondellBasell Industries Holdings B.V.)

Dutch chemical company LyondellBasell has commissioned small-scale MoReTec molecular recycling facility at its Ferrara, Italy.

LyondellBasell developed the new molecular recycling technology, MoReTec, in collaboration with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT).

The technology makes use of a catalyst to break down plastics waste into molecules more quickly and efficiently when compared to traditional chemical recycling technologies.

The technology has been designed to convert typically difficult to recycle plastic waste such as multi-layer films, into their molecular state for use as feedstock to produce new plastic. The new plastic can be used in applications including food contact and healthcare items.

The Ferrara pilot plant marks the company’s next step towards building an industrial-scale facility to convert plastic waste into feedstock.

LyondellBasell said that its research and development teams in Germany, Italy and the US are working to potential commercial-scale applications.

Ferrara pilot plant can process up to 10kg of household plastic waste per hour

Capable of processing between 5kg and 10kg of household plastic waste per hour, the pilot plant will help the research teams in understanding the interaction of various waste types in the molecular recycling process, test the various catalysts, and confirm the process temperature required to decompose the plastic waste into molecules.

The technology development complements the company’s other circular solutions that help reduce plastic waste and advance the circular economy.

LyondellBasell research & development (R&D), technology and sustainability senior vice-president Jim Seward said: “Ending plastic waste in the environment and advancing the circular economy are key sustainability focus areas for our company.

“With our advanced plastics recycling technology, we return larger volumes of plastic waste back into the value chain and produce new materials for high-quality applications, retaining their value for as long as possible.”