PetChem plans advanced chemical recycling plant

From left: Rita Rahayu Omar, Mutiara Etnik Director; Sharifah Zarina Syed Hashim, PCG Head of Corporate Investment, Governance & Services; Ying Staton, Plastic Energy VP Asia/Chief Sustainability Officer; Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof, PCG MD/CEO; Carlos Monreal, Plastic Energy CEO; Datuk Sazali Hamzah, PETRONAS Downstream EVP/CEO; Datuk Surendran Menon, Mutiara Etnik MD; and Yaacob Salim, PCG Head of Strategic Planning & Ventures; at the signing ceremony

KUALA LUMPUR: Petronas Chemicals Group Bhd (PetChem) says it will construct Asia’s largest advanced chemical recycling plant in Pengerang, Johor, with a capacity of 33 kilotonnes per annum.

The plant is targeted to be operational by the first half of 2026, the petrochemicals group said in a statement yesterday.

PetChem said it had reached a final investment decision with regards to the construction of the plant, which will be part of its New Plastics Economy agenda to support the transition towards a circular economy and contribute to a sustainable plastics ecosystem.

The plant will unlock plastics waste chemical recycling capabilities in Malaysia through the conversion of end-of-life plastics into pyrolysis oil or Tacoil, which can be used as chemical feedstock towards the production of sustainable plastics.

PetChem managing director and chief executive officer Mohd Yusri Mohamed Yusof said: “Through the advanced chemical recycling plant, we envision driving innovation across the plastics value chain while creating opportunities for all parties, from waste collectors to manufacturers, to jointly contribute to the circular plastics economy.

“This enables us to propel the nation’s aspiration in phasing out single-use plastics, in line with Malaysia’s Plastic Sustainability Roadmap 2021-2030, while fulfilling the growing demand from major brands for sustainable packaging.”

The group also announced that its subsidiary had signed the technology licence agreement with Plastic Energy Ltd and awarded the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract to Mutiara Etnik Sdn Bhd.

According to the group, Plastic Energy will provide the chemical recycling technology for the plant through its patented TAC process, which heats mixed post-consumer plastic waste in the absence of oxygen.

This process then produces hydrocarbon vapours that are condensed into pyrolysis oil or Tacoil, which can be used as a substitute for hydrocarbon feedstock in the production of food-grade recycled plastics.

Plastic Energy chief executive officer Carlos Monreal said: “After starting our collaboration with PetChem back in 2019, we are pleased to be chosen as the technology provider for its new chemical recycling plant in Malaysia.

“Together, PetChem and Plastic Energy shared a common goal to reduce plastic pollution in Asia by increasing the amount of plastic waste that can be recycled, and expanding recycling infrastructure in the region,” he added.

Meanwhile, Mutiara Etnik managing director Datuk Surendran Menon said: “We are excited to be the EPC partner for this groundbreaking project by PetChem.

“We have always been committed to excellence in every project we undertake and we will ensure that this plant will meet PetChem’s expectations.”

The advanced chemical recycling plant will benefit Malaysia’s plastics value chain beyond closing the loop of the plastics life cycle by creating an ecosystem that promotes the transition to a circular economy.

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