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Neste joins project to produce plastics from discarded tires for automotive applications

By Staff Report   

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(L to R): Jeroen Verhoeven (Neste), Thomas Van De Velde (Borealis), Guido Naberfeld (Covestro) aim to make new car parts from discarded tires. Source: Covestro.

Neste has announced that it has signed onto a project with Borealis and Covestro to recycle discarded tires into high-quality plastics for automotive applications to drive circularity in plastics value chains and the auto sector.

The tires are liquefied through chemical recycling and processed into base chemicals and further into polycarbonates of high purity; which can used in various automotive applications, from parts of headlamps to radiator grilles, Neste stated.

“Circularity requires cooperation, and this cooperation with our partners, Neste and Borealis, is testament to the possibilities at our disposal,” says Guido Naberfeld, senior vice-president, head of sales and market development mobility at Covestro. “We are creating options to turn discarded materials from cars into new car parts again. With that, we are supporting our automotive customers and addressing an increasingly prominent question discussed across the value chain: How to match high-performance materials with recycled content? Projects like this can be the answer.”

Neste’s role in the collaboration is to convert the liquefied discarded tires into a high-quality raw material for polymers and chemicals manufacturing and supply it to Borealis. Borealis will then process the Neste-produced raw material into base chemicals phenol and acetone, which are supplied to Covestro. Covestro can use these materials to make polycarbonates. The share of recycled content is attributed via the mass balancing approach all the way to the final products using ISCC Plus certification. The initial products are already available as each party has manufactured the first batch of their respective contribution to the project, Neste stated.

“We are demonstrating the importance of value chain cooperation to give new value to waste,” says Thomas Van De Velde, senior vice-president of base chemicals at Borealis. “We are proud that Borealis, in collaboration with Neste, is able to play a role in this project, providing more sustainable solutions for polymer applications for Covestro and its customers.”

In addition to polycarbonates, the three companies are also considering polyurethanes as a possible end product, which could potentially be used in the interior of a car.

“This project can serve as a blueprint when it comes to establishing circularity in the field of plastics in cars,” says Jeroen Verhoeven, vice-president of value chain development for polymers and chemicals at Neste. “It shows how low-quality waste materials can be turned into very high-quality plastics. This is good news for the polymers and automotive industries as well as for the environment.”

The project will be presented during the Plastics in Automotive Engineering (PIAE) conference in Mannheim, Germany taking place on June 19 and 20.

Source: Neste Corporation.


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