Finland-based Neste, a manufacturer of renewable fuels and chemicals, has bought a minority stake in Alterra Energy, an innovative chemical recycling technology company located in Akron, Ohio. Details of the transaction were not disclosed.
The investment will provide the financial support needed for Alterra to further expand and commercialize its proprietary thermochemical liquefaction technology, first in Europe and then globally. In this way, Neste and Alterra Energy are striving to accelerate the adoption of chemical recycling.
“The Neste-Alterra partnership will unlock the full potential of the circular economy, bringing our technology to more partners around the world, creating a cleaner planet,” said Alterra’s CEO Frederic Schmuck. Europe is the initial focus as the region represents a leading market in the global transition towards fully circular plastics value chains.
Alterra’s technology enables a broad range of plastic waste streams from different post-consumer sources to be liquefied into a material similar to crude oil, which can then be processed and upgraded by companies like Neste into high-quality feedstock for polymers and chemicals production. Its patented pyrolysis process breaks the plastic waste down into a condensable hydrocarbon vapor and noncondensable gas.The hydrocarbon vapor is cooled into a liquid petrochemical product, which can be further refined into fuels, waxes and feedstock; the noncondensable gas is routed back to the system for energy recovery.
Alterra Energy is already producing commercial volumes at its existing 60-ton waste plastics liquefaction plant in Akron, successfully diverting tons of waste, end-of-life plastic from landfills and other down-cycled applications. It is aiming to start construction on a state-of-the-art liquefaction site in Europe in 2021 — a target that has moved closer with this newly announced collaboration.
“Collaboration with Alterra Energy strengthens Neste’s ecosystem of partnerships that are aimed at accelerating the transition to a circular plastics economy. This partnership also supports Neste’s aim of building new business growth based on chemical recycling, while marking another significant step towards our target of processing more than one million tons of plastic waste from 2030 onwards,” said Mercedes Alonso, executive vice president, Renewable Polymers and Chemicals at Neste.
Neste, a technologically advanced refiner of high-quality oil products with a commitment to reach carbon-neutral production by 2035, has consistently been included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices and the Global 100 list of the world’s most sustainable companies. In 2019, Neste's revenue stood at 15.8 billion euros ($19.3 billion), with 82 percent of the company’s comparable operating profit coming from renewable products.