At K 2022, materials firm Borealis announced plans to build an advanced mechanical recycling plant in Austria and launched a new technology for polypropylene resin.
The plant will be located in Schwechat and will be based on Borcycle M technology developed by Vienna-based Borealis, officials said at an Oct. 19 press event. Borcycle M transforms polyolefin-based post-consumer waste into high-performance polymers suitable for demanding applications.
The new plant will have capacity to produce more than 60 kilotons — about 130 million pounds — of advanced mechanical recycled polyolefin solutions and compounds per year. Officials said customers and end consumers will benefit from increased supplies of high-quality recycled plastic products.
Borealis had operated a pilot plant using the technology in Lahnstein, Germany, along with partners Tomra and Zimmerman.
"We want to reduce our carbon footprint and become a fully global partner to our customers," CEO Thomas Gangl said Oct. 19. Borealis has set a goal of increasing its current production of 100 million kt (220 million pounds) of recycled polyolefins to 600 kt (1.3 billion pounds) by 2025 and to 1.8 million kt (4 billion pounds) by 2030.
"Our industry is undergoing a revolution," Gangl said. "We need to move from linear to circular."
Also at K 2022, Borealis announced the launch of Borstar Nextension technology. Officials called the technology "a step change for PP performance." They added that it enables the replacement of multiple different materials with one material, enabling easier recycling and encouraging design with recycling in mind.
Single-site Borstar Nextension catalysts are being made at a new plant at the Borealis site in Porvoo, Finland. PP properties improved by the technology include reduced odor, upgraded food safety, higher purity and better transparency, according to Lucrèce Foufopoulos-De Ridder. She serves as the firm's executive vice president of polyolefins, innovation and technology and circular economy solutions.
"We believe we can decarbonize the plastics system in the next 30 years," Foufopoulos-De Ridder said. "We want to help our partner design new products with a minimum use of resources and maximum lifetimes."
Borealis and Borouge PLC — a joint venture between Borealis and Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. — also announced the launch of three all-PE pouch concepts developed in collaboration with technology partners to meet challenges in flexible consumer packaging.
The three designs address the need for significant improvements in monomaterial barrier packaging, carbon footprint reduction and design for recycling, officials said. Key challenges identified by the new pouch designs include reliable sealability, mechanical properties and thermal stability, as well as different levels of barrier performance depending on end use.
Officials said the PE monomaterial approach eliminates the use of nonrecyclable multimaterial solutions. It also supports the aesthetic consumer appeal — look and feel — of the pouches as well as their end-of-life mechanical recycling in existing flexible PE waste streams.
Borealis ranks as Europe's second-largest polyolefins maker and eighth in that market worldwide. The firm employs almost 7,000 and posted sales of €12.3 billion in 2021. Oil and gas firm OMV of Vienna owns 75 percent of Borealis, with Mubadala Investment Co. of Abu Dhabi owning the remaining 25 percent.