In June 2019, LyondellBasell, in partnership with Neste, a Finland-based energy company, announced the commercial-scale production of bio-based plastic from renewable materials. With the rising concern among individuals regarding climate change, the demand for bio-based materials, including bio-based polymers, have increased.
With this collaboration, both the companies have become first in the bio-based polymer industry to undertake the parallel production of bio-based polypropylene and bio-based low-density polyethylene at the commercial level.
Today, nearly 300 tons of plastic waste is produced every year. The rising level of plastic pollution is one of the major factors contributing to the global warming. The accumulation of plastic objects and particles in our environment has adversely affected the wildlife and natural habitats as plastic waste — whether in a waterbody or on land — can persist in the environment for centuries. According to an estimate, half of all plastic produced around the world is designed to be used only once and then thrown away, which finally ends up in our environment. This calls for a need to slow down the flow of plastic and look for a better way to manage our plastic waste. As the range of bio-based alternatives for plastics remain limited, the factor, which can accelerate the switch from petrochemical to bio-based plastics, is the introduction of a larger diversity of materials. These materials can include commodity polyolefins such as polypropylene and polyethylene.
The joint venture utilises Neste’s renewable hydrocarbons, obtained from sustainable bio-based raw materials. This successfully resulted in the production of several thousand tonnes of bio-based plastics, which have been further approved for the production of sustainable food packaging material. Neste’s renewable hydrocarbons performed flawlessly in a commercial-scale production of bio-based polymers, providing a drop-in replacement option to fossil materials. The product is being marketed under the name ‘Circulen’ and ‘Circulen Plus’ and has been added to the circular economy product line of LyondellBasell.
Neste (NESTE, Nasdaq Helsinki), the world’s leading producer of renewable diesel from waste and residues, is an oil refining and marketing company. The company is operational in 14 countries and employs over 5,000 people. In 2018, company’s revenue stood at EUR 14.9 billion, and in 2019, Neste was named as the third most sustainable company in the world, producing a wide range of renewable products. The company also provides renewable solutions to the aviation and plastics industries, thus, helping its customers reduce climate emissions.
LyondellBasell (NYSE: LYB) is one of the leading plastics, chemicals, and refining companies in the world. In 2018, the company advanced in its sustainability efforts, focusing on three major areas: sustainable and circular products, plastic waste, and climate change. LyondellBasell sells products in over 100 countries. It is the largest licensor of polyolefin technologies as well as the largest producer of polymer compounds, globally. LyondellBasell, with its innovative spirit that spans decades, is taking concrete actions in support of a circular economy.
In the third quarter of 2018, Neste also partnered with Ikea in order to pilot production of bio-based polypropylene at a commercial level, helping the company fully substitute the plastics used in its products by 2030 with recycled or renewable substances. Now, this collaboration of Neste with LyondellBasell will help the company commercialise its renewable polymers and chemicals business, further providing the circular solutions for forward-looking sustainable brands.
This project is going to benefit the customers as it combines Neste’s experience in the production of sustainable products, like, renewable hydrocarbons derived from bio-based feedstocks, and LyondellBasell’s technological support in carrying out large scale chemical production. Through the use of renewable resources, promoting sustainable development, both the companies are contributing to the fight against climate change, further helping their customers achieve their target. This will enable the plastics industry to introduce more bio-based material into its offering.