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Comment Sustainability

JDA to advance conversion of syngas to ethylene

By Scott Jenkins |

A recently announced joint development agreement (JDA) between Enerkem Inc. (Montreal, Que.) and NOVA Chemicals (Calgary, Alta.) is aimed at developing recycling technology to allow difficult-to-recycle plastics (specifically #3–7 polymers), as well as other municipal solid waste (MSW), household waste and construction materials, to be converted into ethylene at full commercial scale. The development project will involve Enerkem’s gasification process, which is capable of generating synthesis gas (syngas; CO and H2) from a wide range of feedstocks, including MSW, biomass and polymers, including polyvinyl chloride (PVC) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Enerkem’s gasification platform involves gasification of sorted feedstocks by thermal cracking in a bubbling, fluidized-bed gasifier, followed by purifying and separating the syngas (diagram). Currently Enerkem converts syngas to methanol and ethanol. “By advancing recycling technology to transform syngas to ethylene, we aim to create a plastics circular economy that lowers the energy intensity and cost of the process compared to other routes, such as ethylene via syngas and ethanol,” says Sarah Marshall, director of sustainability at NOVA Chemicals. “A vital parameter…
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