South Korean chemical company SK Global Chemical signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with US-based waste solutions provider Brightmark. Under the MOU, Brightmark will construct a plant in Korea that will produce and commercialize pyrolysis oil from waste plastics. The SK Global Chemical facility investment will use pyrolysis technology, a chemical recycling procedure that transforms plastics into alternative fuel. Also known as bio-crude, pyrolysis oil is the synthetic fuel produced in the pyrolysis plastic renewal technology.
“Pyrolysis is an essential technology to resolve plastic issues,” said Na Kyung-soo, SK Global Chemical’s chief executive. “This partnership with Brightmark will help establish us as leaders on this important challenge. In addition to our operation with Brightmark, SK Global Chemical’s Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance (ESG) initiatives will continue to support the circular economy of plastic.”
Through the plastic renewal plant, the two companies will optimize plastic recycling and enable its commercial availability. As a way of dealing with problems on plastic waste disposal, the renewal facility will have a 100,000-ton annual capacity. Previously, companies experienced difficulties in commercializing pyrolysis oil, but Brightmark succeeded in developing its technical and economic viability.
“Brightmark is pleased to be able to partner with a leading global petrochemical company like SK Global Chemical that shares Brightmark’s focus on circular solutions to eliminate waste,” said Bob Powell, Brightmark’s founder and chief executive. “Brightmark recognizes that the plastic waste issue is a global problem and we need global solutions to tackle it.”
Improving South Korea’s plastic waste recycling rate
“South Korea is ready to tackle the plastic waste crisis by supporting circular, scalable solutions, and has established plastic waste collection systems and readily available plastic waste feedstock streams, which makes it an exceptional location for expansion,” continued Powell.
SK Global Chemical is expecting their long-term partnership to help solve the plastic disposal problem in Korea. This year, the two companies will conduct a feasibility study and combine their pyrolysis technology and post-treatment know-hows. By the end of 2021, the two companies will finish the operation methods evaluation and finalize the development deal. In cooperation with SK Innovation, SK Global Chemical is developing a post-treatment procedure of removing impurities in the pyrolysis oil.
“It is very important to strengthen technological competitiveness in related industries,” said Dr. Lee Seong-jun, head of SK Innovation’s Environmental Science and Technology Institute. “In this regard, SK Innovation is developing core technologies such as improving yield of plastic conversion and removing impurities to secure the quality of pyrolysis oil from waste plastic.”
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