This data-file assesses the outlook for 30 plastic pyrolysis companies, operating (or constructing) 100 plants around the world, which use chemical processes to turn waste plastics back into oil.
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, our assessment’s of each company’s technology.
The data-file has been updated in 2022, revising our rankings, and concluding that the industry is ‘on track’ for the game-changing scale-up originally foreseen in our 2019 research note (here).
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.
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.
>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.