Sustainability

Quantafuel helps build a circular economy for plastic that increases resource utilisation and reduces emissions. We rescue low-value waste from its final stop at the incineration plant and put it back into a cycle where it becomes new products.


 

 

We are working hard to continually improve our sustainability profile. Our future plants will be built according to the highest sustainability standards, and our goal is to ensure that our own production is climate-neutral and waste-free.

 

Quantafuel’s is green to the core

Our energy efficient process upgrades mixed plastic waste to feedstock for new plastic of virgin quality that can be in contact with food. This is an example of upcycling, where existing materials and resources are transformed into products of greater quality and value.

Quantafuel’s business model is green to the core. This does not mean we can rest on our laurels. We are working hard to continually improve our sustainability profile. Our future plants will be built according to the highest sustainability standards, and our goal is to ensure that our own production is climate-neutral and waste-free.

Our future plants will be built according to the highest sustainability standards.

To push up recycling rates, the world needs new technology that can process a larger share of plastic waste. Quantafuel will increase the proportion of material recycling by adding chemical recycling to the toolbox of technologies, and by combining chemical and mechanical technologies in new ways. So, what is chemical recycling?

While mechanical recycling typically requires a high degree of clean fractions of one plastic type, our chemical recycling process can handle soiled, mixed plastic. The process breaks down plastic waste to its smallest constituents, making it possible to create a number of products which meet the highest safety standards. Our process is flexible: we can accept mixed plastic fractions and extract many more products.

The only alternative to Quantafuel’s chemical recycling of plastic waste is to burn it in an incineration plant. Until recently, this is precisely what has happened to the majority of Europe’s plastic, in large incineration plants overseas. On 1 January 2018, China introduced its “National Sword” strategy, which blocks imports of plastic waste, preventing the incineration of plastic. The consequence of this was a build-up of plastic waste that no-one knew what to do with.

 

We can take plastic from the bottom of the value chain and transform it into products at the top of the value chain. We comply with all safety requirements, and our product can even be used for packaging food and medication — making Quantafuel unique among recycling companies.

 

 

Quantafuel’s chemical recycling of plastic waste makes a contribution in three key areas:?

1. Circular economy 

We recycle plastic (derived from virgin fossil oil and gas) that has already been produced and used. The alternative is to extract more fossil oil. By replacing fossil oil and gas with recycled raw materials, we can achieve a sustainable circular economy where waste is elevated to a resource.

2. Co2 reduction 

Recent studies show that chemical recycling of plastic waste displaces oil demand and reduces the carbon footprint by more than 50% compared to incineration . We save CO2 because our processes have lower emissions than incineration, and because we avoid the extraction of new oil. If we were to produce recycled carbon fuel, a 2018 LCA for Quantafuel shows a 90% reduction in CO2 emissions.

How much do we get from a tonne of plastic waste?

  • Around 800 kilograms of each tonne becomes liquid product. A litre of this weighs less than a kilogram, so we end up with slightly more than 1,000 litres of product. This is an extremely efficient process.

  • Around 100 kilograms become Non-condensable gas (NCG), which is used to power the factory. In fact, we even have surplus energy left over, which in future may be used for such purposes as district heating.

  • Up to 100 kilograms become a carbon-rich ash, with high commercial potential in areas such as cement and asphalt production. But the ash can also be used as a fuel, thanks to its high energy content.


3. Upgrading to high-grade valuable products 

At Quantafuel we take mixed, contaminated low-grade waste and upgrade it to high-grade products. We can take plastic from the bottom of the value chain and transform it to products at the top of the value chain, complying with all safety requirements. Our product may even be used for packaging food and medication. This makes Quantafuel unique among recycling companies.

Upcycling is the highest form of recycling, both in commercial and sustainability terms. The benefit of chemical recycling is that we take mixed, soiled waste and break these hydrocarbons down into their respective constituents and rebuild them in accordance with all requirements.

In Europe, there is rapid change underway as the EU is implementing a series of measures increasing the need for Quantafuel’s solutions.

The EU imposes strict requirements 

Recycling targets drive innovation, and in Europe, there is rapid change underway as the EU is implementing a series of measures that increase the need for Quantafuel’s solutions.

By 2025, Europe must achieve a recycling rate of 50% for plastic packaging, increasing to 55% in 2030. According to several estimates, the current rate is as low as 10–20%. In order to achieve the new targets, industry must invest in chemical material recycling.

The EU is introducing a tax of 0.80 EUR/kg on non-recycled plastic packaging waste from 2021, which will promote the development of circular plastic solutions.
 


Quantafuel’s contribution to the UN SDGS

The more plastic waste Quantafuel can process, the
more barrels of oil and gas will be left in the ground

Quantafuel creates green jobs in production facilities designed to meet the highest sustainability standards

By rescuing plastic waste from its final stop at the incineration plant, we contribute to a circular economy and responsible consumption.

Recent studies show that chemical recycling of plastic waste displaces oil demand and reduces the carbon footprint by >50%.

Frequently asked questions – Sustainability

Yes. Our entire liquid production is upgraded to new plastic products and other materials and substances at BASF’s Verbund sites in Europe. Nothing is used as fuel. This means that Quantafuel meets the technology neutral EU definition of recycling and helps member states achieve the requirement of 50% recycling of plastic packaging in Europe by 2025.

Quantafuel helps reduce CO2 emissions significantly through our process of chemical material recycling. The Norwegian Institute for Sustainability Research is preparing a Life Cycle Analysis (LCA) for Quantafuel in 2021 which will verify the precise CO2 footprint. The results will be published as soon as they are ready. Previous studies of chemical recycling have shown a CO2 reduction of about 50% compared to incineration. It also showed that 2.3 tonnes of CO2 are saved per tonne of plastic produced with chemically-recycled feedstock compared to conventional fossil feedstock.

The draft EU Taxonomy regulation for Climate Change Mitigation recognises chemical recycling as a sustainable activity, if documentation of a lower CO2 footprint than conventional plastic can be provided. This places Quantafuel in full compliance with the EU Taxonomy.

Yes. In a market characterised by uncertainty about how much plastic is actually recycled, we believe it is important to be fully transparent and provide proof that we live up to our high environmental standards. Our products are certified according to ISCC Plus and REDcert2, which makes us a frontrunner among plastic recyclers.

Quantafuel’s proprietary process has a yield of about 80%. This means that from 1 tonne of plastic waste, 0.8 tonnes are converted to liquid product, while 0.1 tonnes are converted to non-condensable gas (NCG), and up to 0.1 tonnes become a carbon-rich ash. The NCG is utilised in our process as fuel for our reactors, minimising demand for external energy. The carbon-rich ash has commercial potential in a wide range of areas, such as cement and asphalt production. But it can also be used as fuel, given its high energy content.

The plastic or polymer types used as feedstock are primarily polyolefins, which include high density polyethylene (HDPE), low density polyethylene (LDPE) and polypropylene (PP). However, the feedstock will also include smaller amounts of polystyrene (PS) and polyethylene terephthalate (PET).

 

The proprietary purification steps in Quantafuel’s chemical recycling technology are able to handle mixed plastic waste containing impurities. This sets chemical material recycling apart from today’s traditional mechanical recycling, which requires a very high degree of purity in plastic polymers types.

Due to undesirable chemical properties, plastic types such as polyvinyl chloride (PVC), acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS), polyamide (PA) and other lesser-used polymer types and combinations are sorted out and minimised.

Quantafuel strives to keep its carbon footprint at low as possible, and sources the plastic waste needed as close to the production site as possible. And the majority of plastic waste used stems from normal household waste.

 

Quantafuel will only use post-consumer plastic waste. Post-consumer waste has served its intended purpose, passed through the hands of a final consumer, and has been discarded for disposal or recovery.

The Challenge

Plastic is the manmade material growing fastest worldwide, and we have become completely reliant on it. Why?

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Our solution

Our solution is to place a value on plastic waste. We must start treating used plastic as a valuable resource, establishing a model for plastic waste collection and upgrading it to recycled products. The entire value chain needs to be circular.

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The Technology

 

From day one, Quantafuel’s fundamental idea has been to solve the world’s plastic waste problem by transforming soiled plastic into new products. This is our contribution to the circular economy of plastic waste. 

 

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