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Repsol pioneers the industrial use of products from plastic’ chemical recycling

| By Gerald Ondrey

Repsol S.A. (Madrid, Spain; has devoted many resources to lead the search for new solutions to boost the Circular Economy and promote that a large amount of plastic waste, which currently goes to landfill, be transformed into new raw material for its petrochemical processes.

The Zero project is an initiative that Repsol has implemented to take advantage of the synthetic oils, obtained from the chemical recycling of plastic waste streams at the end of their life cycle, that cannot be otherwise recycled in a traditional mechanical way. Thus, Repsol has been working for a while, together with various companies with these new technologies and products, accomplishing in 2015 to experimentally feed these products on an industrial scale in its Puertollano complex.

Through this technology, plastic polymers are transformed into hydrocarbons or pyrolysis oils that can be reintroduced in the petrochemical industry. This presents a transversal opportunity to support the circular economy, allowing Repsol’s Refining and Chemical businesses to deliver potential benefits to society. On the one hand, with an alternative raw material for the Refining business, and on the other hand, a mean for Repsol’s Chemical business to offer its clients polymers from a “plastic to plastic” source with equivalent properties to those of virgin polymers. A potential solution to the problem of plastic waste to landfill, based on the circular economy, to close their life cycle.

The plastics’ chemical recycling alternatives, which are beginning their industrial scale-up, complement existing ones, such as, the mechanical recycling, where Repsol also has focused their efforts through its Reciclex product range, which incorporates a percentage of plastic recycled in its formulation.