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ROTTERDAM: February 19, 2018. A consortium of Air Liquide, AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, Enerkem and the Port of Rotterdam Authority (PRA) are to invest an initial €9 million to develop an advanced waste-to-chemistry plant in Rotterdam.

Built at an estimated cost of €200 million, the plant will be able to process 360,000 tonnes of waste into 220,000 tonnes or 270 million liters of 'green' methanol.

Rotterdam port The first of its type in Europe to convert plastic and mixed waste into new raw materials for industry, it is expected to reduce CO2 emissions by approximately 300,000 tonnes annually.

The Netherlands Ministry of Economic Affairs and Climate, the Municipality of Rotterdam, the Province of South Holland and Innovation Quarter - the regional development agency - are supporting the project in a bid to establish a low-carbon economy through the use of new technology.

"This is an important milestone for the project and a huge step on the road to a sustainable and circular chemical industry," declared Marco Waas, director of RD&I at AkzoNobel Specialty Chemicals, and chairperson of the consortium. "This agreement comes at an extremely appropriate time considering the current challenges regarding recycling and plastics in Europe. We can process non-recyclable waste into methanol, an essential raw material for a large number of everyday products, such as sustainable fuel for transport.

"On the one hand, methanol can be used in existing supply chains as replacement for fossil fuels. On the other, it offers the advantage of there being no CO2 emissions during the incineration of waste," he continued.

The plant is expected to be built in the PRA's Botlek area using technology from Enerkem in Canada to process non-recyclable mixed waste, including plastic, into synthetic gas and then into clean methanol for the chemical industry and the transport sector.

Allard Castelein, PRA CEO added: "This waste-to-chemistry project is an important step on the road to a more sustainable Rotterdam industry. Waste becomes a raw material for the chemical industry. This is a great step forward that fits well in our circular economy ambition."

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