Nexus Circular LLC, which has long signaled aspirations to open multiple chemical recycling facilities, is planning a second site in the Chicago area.
The company also has struck a preliminary understanding with resin maker Braskem SA to take output from the location that initially will handle 30,000 metric tons of used plastics each year. Braskem is an investor in Nexus, which already operates a commercial site in Atlanta.
"With the new facility, we will leverage Nexus' proven, commercial advanced recycling technology to secure high-quality feedstock for the production of Braskem's certified circular PP resins. Braskem has dedicated substantial resources towards reducing plastic waste and is making significant progress towards a more sustainable portfolio of PP to support our clients' goals," said Braskem America CEO Mark Nikolich in a statement.
Braskem and Nexus have signed a memorandum of understanding and will now work to negotiate a final agreement.
Nexus has a commercial operation in Atlanta that has handled more than 5.5 million pounds of used plastics, the company said.
Nexus could not be immediately reached for comment July 11 but indicated the new Chicago-area location would have the potential to expand to 120,000 metric tons of annual capacity.
"Nexus is rapidly expanding our production footprint, beyond our current commercial plant, with leading companies. We are thrilled to have Braskem as a committed partner, in addition to being an investor, as we move decisively to address the outsized market demand for circular recycled products while helping to mitigate the plastic waste challenge," Nexus President Eric Hartz said in a statement.
Along with Braskem, Nexus also counts Printpack and Chevron Phillips Chemical as backers along with lead investor Cox Enterprises.
Nexus converts certain plastics — high and low density polyethylene, polystyrene and polypropylene — through pyrolysis to feedstock that can be used to then create new plastics and fuel. Pyrolysis uses pressure and heat in the absence of oxygen to deconstruct plastics into its constituents for reformulation.
The company only targets plastics that already have been missed by traditional recycling efforts, Hartz has said in a previous interview. "In our case," he explained, "everything we take is 100 percent landfill bound. We are not trying to compete with mechanical [recycling]. We are not trying to pull from other sources. It was going to be in a landfill or potentially burned."