Ecolab introduces solutions for advanced recycled plastic feedstocks
Nalco Water, Ecolab's water and process management business for industrial customers, has launched a new program for refineries, ethylene producers and chemical recyclers of plastic waste. The program offers an end-to-end suite of chemistries that are unique to the downstream energy and chemical markets.
The world now produces more than 380 million tons of plastic each year, much of which continues to exist as pollutants, entering the natural environment and oceans. Companies, governments and citizens around the world increasingly recognize the challenges of single use plastics and are seeking to address them with a more circular economy. Advanced recyclers of plastic waste have begun to produce an alternate feedstock — pyrolysis oil — for ethylene producers and refiners. This alternative feedstock, which utilizes recycled plastic waste, can be difficult to process and transport, which creates new challenges within their operations.
To alleviate these challenges for both advanced recyclers and downstream processors, Nalco Water's new program offers several solutions that make the production of pyrolysis oil easier while also helping with feedstock flowability and stability as it is transported, stored and processed.
"The Advanced Recycling for Plastics program offers strong value for ethylene producers that are using recycled plastic feedstock as a way to implement more sustainable solutions," said Calvin Emanuel, VP, Strategy, Primary Resources Sector. "Human desire for more ecofriendly energy solutions is driving fundamental change in the marketplace, and Nalco Water can help support our customers along their transformational journey with the solutions in this new program."
Nalco Water has already leveraged existing partnerships with major ethylene producers and advanced recyclers of plastic waste in North America and Europe. Early trials with the solutions have successfully enabled companies to process the recycled plastic feedstock, which has been shown to significantly reduce carbon emissions over other traditional feedstocks, such as petroleum naphtha.
The Nalco Water program is a holistic suite of offerings aimed at helping ethylene producers and refiners use existing infrastructure when processing pyrolysis oil. The solutions enable companies to preserve their existing equipment, which necessitates lower capital costs than retrofitting their operations for feedstock transportation. Additionally, the solutions that help with feedstock stability and flowability as it is stored and processed protect refining and chemical processing infrastructure from scaling and corrosion.
The program brings a tailored approach to the industry and includes:
- Chemical solutions to help with the production, storage and transportation of recycled plastic feedstock
- Consulting on program implementation, seasonal variabilities, asset protection and future scaling potential
- Continuous research and development to optimize operations
Traditionally, waste management companies have operated using a simple "management of waste" approach to operating a MRF. Throughput targets and continuous operation (minimal downtime) were the main driving forces. The industry has changed however, and the focus moving forward is now on optimizing system performance and reliability, in conjunction with increasing recycling rates and a drive for a "greener" and more sustainable tomorrow.
When considering the addition of, or upgrade to, an "intelligent" MRF, for municipalities or private operators, the main factors should always be the client's (operator) current requirements, and evolving market needs, which include throughput, reliability, output quality, and adaptability. Equally important is a full understanding of what is really expected from any proposed system. Having an engaged and focused mindset for the project with the client from the beginning, will impact and drive the entire design process. This then impacts the overall project result, through to the productive, efficient, ongoing operation of the facility itself.