In a ceremony to mark the 60th anniversary of its Schwechat refinery, near Vienna, Austrian energy company OMV unveiled the “ReOil” plastic recycling project Sept. 20.
The ReOil pilot plant, which started operation earlier this year, uses a thermo-chemical process to produce synthetic crude from post-consumer plastic waste.
The recycling process involves thermal cracking at temperatures exceeding 300° Celsius. The patented technology breaks medium and long-chain hydrocarbons into shorter-chain hydrocarbons.
“This technology allows us to use a barrel of oil multiple times. This means that less plastic is incinerated, and greenhouse gases are reduced,” said Manfred Leitner, OMV executive board member for downstream.
OMV invested around 10 million euros ($11.7 million) in the project as a whole, with the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) subsidizing 10 percent of the costs.
The company started up its first test facility in Schwechat in 2013 with a processing capacity of 5 kilograms of used plastics per hour.
The new pilot plant can transform 100 kg of plastic waste to 100 liters of synthetic crude per hour.
The crude is then subjected to further processing at the Schwechat Refinery to become fuel or base materials for the plastics industry.