Plastic Recycling Companies: pyrolysis and next-generation recycling?

This data-file assesses the outlook for 30 plastic recycling companies, including next-generation plastic recycling or pyrolysis. This group is operating  (or constructing) 100 plants around the world, which use chemical processes to turn waste plastics back into oil.

Post-use plastic can by pyrolysed back into feedstock or fuel, with 30% IRRs (economic model here), 60% lower CO2, 8Mbpd of LT oil savings (oil demand model here), less waste ending up in landfill (avoiding landfill taxes), or worst of all, ending up in the ocean. We first wrote about this theme in 2019

This data-file covers 30 plastic recycling companies, including the number of plants, locations, start-up years, input-types and capacities for each plant. We also include our own notes, our assessments of each company’s technology, and a summary of news flow.

The data-file has been updated in 2023, 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), some of the progress along the way is noted here, although please note, the industry’s progress is not “a straight line”.

Six companies stand out in the screen, have built working plants allowing us to de-risk the technology and are now in the scale-up phase. Five are private and one is public. In the best cases, data from 2-3 years of successful operation are available, and receive positive comments as new license agreements are signed.

However a recent observation is that de-risking new technologies tends to proceed slowly; emerging industries seem to segment among a few leaders, while the majority of companies run the gauntlet of delays, technology frustrations and regulatory issues.

About 65% of the companies in our data-file have made less progress than originally hoped in 2019. Most often, this means development delays. Others have simply not worked (e.g., one commercial reactor could not pyrolyse contaminated cling films, was shut, and the waste plastics were instead sent for incineration at a cement plant).

We have profiled some of the plastic recycling companies in more depth, by reviewing their patents, such as Agilyx, Pure Cycle and Carbios. Other opportunities for hydrocarbon-based materials are summarized in our plastics research.

Copyright: Thunder Said Energy, 2019-2024.