Shell partners with Enerkem & Air Liquide for waste to chemicals project

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Oil and gas company Shell has joined as equity partners with Air Liquide, Enerkem, Nouryon and the Port of Rotterdam on a proposed Rotterdam project to make valuable chemical and biofuels out of non-recyclable waste materials.

The W2C project will be the first advanced waste-to-chemicals facility in in Europe.

General manager, Advanced Biofuels at Shell said Andrew Murfin, “Industry partnerships, just like this one, are critical to delivering some of the many solutions society will need to meet energy demand while reducing emissions to tackle climate change and air pollution.”

He continued, “Advanced biofuels, including those produced using bio-methanol, have the potential to decarbonise the transportation sector, in particular. This is an exciting prospect given transportation accounts for one fifth of global energy-related CO2 emissions, and will continue to rely on liquid fuels, especially for long journeys and heavy duty vehicles, for years to come.”

Chairman of the waste-to-chemicals project in Rotterdam and Director RD&I at Nouryon, Marco Waas said, “We are thrilled to have Shell join our group of partners.”

“The EU Renewable Energy Directive (RED II) coming into effect in 2021, as well as other environmental initiatives such as the Circular Economy Package are creating an ideal environment for leading companies to drive sustainable growth through innovation. The project will be further strengthened with the addition of another leading global partner,” Waas added.

The facility plans on converting up to 360,000 tons of waste into 220,000 tons (270 million litres) of biomethanol; a chemical building block used to manufacture a broad range of products as well as being a renewable fuel.

The Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs & Climate Policy is supporting the W2C project and will be developing mechanisms and regulations to help bring this new technology to full scale. The Dutch Ministry is helping the project in hopes of aiding the Dutch economy’s low-carbon transition.   

The facility is to be built within the Botlek area of the Port of Rotterdam using Enerkem’s proprietary technology, and will convert non-recyclable mixed waste, including plastics, into syngas. The syngas will then be converted into clean methanol for use in the chemical industry and the transport sector.