BASF is to invest €20 million ($17.7m) into Quantafuel, a specialist for the pyrolysis of mixed plastics waste and purification of pyrolysis oil, headquartered in Oslo, Norway.

Together, the partners aim to further develop Quantafuel’s technology for chemical recycling, consisting of an integrated process of pyrolysis and purification, towards optimising the output for the use as feedstock in chemical production.

In a second step, Quantafuel also plans to license the jointly developed technology to other parties.
Quantafuel plans to start up a pyrolysis and purification plant with a nameplate capacity of approximately 16,000 tonnes per year in Skive, Denmark in the fourth quarter of 2019.

As part of the investment agreement, for a minimum of four years after the start-up of production of Quantafuel’s Skive plant, BASF will have a right of first refusal to all pyrolysis oil and purified hydrocarbons from this plant. BASF will use these secondary raw materials in its ChemCyclingproject to develop the market for chemically recycled plastics with selected customers.

At BASF’s Ludwigshafen site, the recycled raw materials will be fed into the production Verbund, thereby partially replacing fossil resources. Once the Quantafuel plant in Denmark reaches full capacity, BASF aims to deliver first commercial supply volumes of Ccycledproducts, meaning products based on chemically recycled plastics waste, to selected customers.

“The investment underlines BASF’s commitment towards a sustainable use of resources and the development of a circular economy model for plastics,” said Hartwig Michels, president of petrochemicals at BASF. “Moreover, the partnership is a first step to build up a broad supply base for Ccycled products. This enables us to support our customers in achieving their sustainability targets.”

Kjetil Bøhn, chief executive of Quantafuel, added: “Our longstanding strategic partner Vitol has agreed to open our existing cooperation to enable the collaboration between BASF and Quantafuel. We now have the foundation to establish production capacity on a scale that could have a meaningful impact on the global environmental challenges with waste plastics.”

BASF started its ChemCycling project in 2018 with the aim to process recycled raw materials obtained from plastics waste in its production Verbund. Together with customers from various industries, BASF has already produced first prototypes based on chemically recycled plastics waste – including food packaging for which particularly high quality and hygiene standards apply.