TOTAL is currently pioneering the greatest advances in plastic-recycling technologies among the Majors, based on our database of 3,000 patents.
This data-file covers the comprehensive mixing of chromium-catalysed polyethylene, to reduce defects and increase the strength of post-consumer resins. In turn, this extends their use to films, containers and pipes.
Four different measures of defect rates are correlated with four different extrusion methodologies.
The file also includes a summary of TOTAL’s plastic recycling patents. Overall it should be possible to uplift plastic recycling margins by $50-100/ton.
We remain most excited, however, by plastic pyrolysis, being pioneered by smaller companies, to turn plastic back into oil.
There is only one way to decarbonise the energy system: leading companies must find economic opportunities in better technologies. No other route can source sufficient capital to re-shape such a vast industry that spends c$2trn per annum. We outline seven game-changing opportunities. Leading energy Majors are already pursuing them in their portfolios, patents and venturing. Others must follow suit.
Due to the limitations of mechanical recycling, 85% of the world’s plastic is incinerated, dumped into landfill, or worst of all, ends up in the oceans. An alternative, plastic pyrolysis, is on the cusp of commercialisation. We have assessed twenty technology solutions. This nascent opportunity can turn plastic back into oil, generate >30% IRRs on investment, and could displace 15Mbpd of future oil demand.
We assessed the technology behind 20 plastic pyrolysis companies, operating (or constructing) 100 plants around the world. Our data-file includes the number of plants, locations, start-up years, input-types and capacities for each plant. We also include our own notes and assessment’s of each company’s technology.
>30% IRRs should be attainable converting waste-plastic back into oil, based on disclosures from technology-leaders in the sector. This economic model allows for stress-testing of product prices, input costs, gate fees, capex, opex, utilisation and fiscal regimes.
We see potential for plastic-recycling technologies to displace 15Mbpd of potential oil demand growth (i.e., naphtha, LPGs and ethane) by 2060, compared to a business-as-usual scenario of demand growth. In a more extreme case, oil demand for conventional plastics could halve. This simple model allows you to vary the input assumptions and derive your own outputs.
This data-file tabulates the most likely costs of placing waste-material (e.g., plastic) into landfill, by country. The landfill taxes are a strong incentive for plastic recycling technologies. For example, a c$65/ton gate fee improves the IRRs or plastic pyrolysis by c15pp, all else equal.
A breakdown of the global plastics industry, from several recent academic papers. This data-file shows the rise of global plastic use since 1950, recent plastic use by end-product, recent plastic use by end-plastic (e.g., polyethylene, polypropylene, polyamides, PET, PVC), and plastics’ fate after their use. This includes the proportion of plastics that are improperly disposed of, including those that reach the sea, estimated by country. (Not all data are current, and some charts stop at 2015-16).
This data-file breaks down the world’s use of oil to make chemicals (i.e., plastics). It’s split across 13 different products, and the ‘Top 10’ countries/regions. The estimate year is 2016.
What are the top technologies to transform the global energy industry and the world? This data-file summarises where we have conducted differentiated analysis, across 35 technologies (and counting).
For each technology, we summarise the opportunity. Then we score its economic impact, its technical maturity (TRL), and the depth of our work to-date. The output is a ranking of the top technologies, by category.
Download this data-file and you will also receive updates for a year, as we add more technologies; and we will also be happy to dig into any technologies you would like to see added to the list.