Air Liquide, Enerkem, Nouryon, the Port of Rotterdam and Shell are developing an advanced 'waste to chemicals' (W2C) plant in Rotterdam. The aim is that this will be the first plant of this type in Europe that make valuable chemicals and bio-fuels out of non-recyclable waste materials.
Facilitating the transition from linear to circular economy
Waste to Chemicals (W2C) Rotterdam is an important step towards a more sustainable chemical industry and circular economy. The facility will be the first of its kind in Europe to provide a sustainable solution for non-recyclable wastes, converting waste plastics and other mixed wastes into new raw materials. This prevents the burning of waste and the use of fossil sources for new materials. The project can help the Netherlands realize its ambition to become virtually carbon-neutral by 2050.
Non-recyclable mixed waste, including unrecoverable plastic, will first be processed using Enerkem’s innovative and proprietary thermochemical technology into synthesis gas and then into clean methanol for the chemical industry and the transport sector. Currently, methanol is usually produced from natural gas or coal.
The plant will be able to process 360,000 tonnes of waste into 220,000 tonnes or 270 million litres of sustainable methanol. This is more than the total annual waste from 700,000 households and reduces CO2 emissions by approximately 300,000 tonnes.
Methanol is an essential raw material for many everyday products and can be used as a sustainable fuel. Sustainably produced methanol can be used in existing factories and supply chains, allowing the chemical industry to transition from a linear to a circular economy model.
W2C will create about 250 jobs during construction of the plant, resulting in roughly 50 permanent jobs in the Botlek area.
The Rotterdam plant will benefit from the excellent industrial infrastructure at the Port of Rotterdam, and from partnerships with Air Liquide and Nouryon for the supply of the required oxygen and hydrogen. The current aim is that the facility’s sustainable methanol output will be purchased by Nouryon and Shell. Exclusive technology from the Canadian cleantech company Enerkem will be used. The plant will be equipped with two production lines. This is double the capacity of the commercial-scale Enerkem plant in Edmonton, Canada. The aimed location for the plant is Port of Rotterdam’s Botlek area.
The project realisation is being supported by the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, which aims to promote new mechanisms and the scale-up of new technologies and, in doing so, stimulate the transition to a low-carbon economy. There is also support from the Municipality of Rotterdam, the Province of South Holland and InnovationQuarter, the regional development agency.
The project is also financed by the European Union: the European Regional Development Fund