NIGERIA – German chemical company BASF has launched a mobile pyrolysis unit in Lagos, part of its Waste-2-Chemical project aimed at recycling plastic waste.

This initiative resonates with BASF’s commitment to fostering a circular economy and lessening the environmental impact of plastic waste.

Investing in cutting-edge pyrolysis technology, BASF seeks to convert plastic waste into oil, partnering with a German startup to deploy the first plastics waste pyrolysis unit.

Through a thermochemical process, shredded plastic will be transformed into pyrolysis oil, a secondary raw material.

Scheduled to commence operations in 2023, the unit’s objective is to validate all components necessary for developing and deploying larger-scale units.

“The project primarily targets plastic streams currently lacking recycling solutions,” explains Dr. Akintayo Adisa, BASF Manager for Senior Projects Sustainability.

“Lagos alone generates over 800,000 metric tons of plastic waste annually, encompassing PET, polypropylene, and polyethylene,” he details.

The Waste-2-Chemicals project intends to view plastic waste as a valuable source for recycling right where it’s generated.

Once plastic waste is converted into pyrolysis oil, it will be transported to a central facility, stabilized for overseas shipment, and utilized as a feedstock for applications in the chemical industry.

This oil will be instrumental in manufacturing new products with properties akin to conventional ones, showcasing the significant value plastic waste holds beyond mere fuel.

Adisa highlights the potential for these oils: “They could enter the refinery for hydrocracking to produce transportation fuels. However, our aim is to derive the highest value from these oils, reinjecting them into the chemical industry professionally.”

By deploying more units nationwide, a considerable volume of plastic waste from streets can be collected and transformed into valuable oil.

The Waste-2-Chemicals project aspires to offer genuine opportunities for both the chemical industry and local communities. It amalgamates social entrepreneurship with a compact recycling unit that yields pyrolysis oils for innovative new products.

Meanwhile, in September, the Federal government of Nigeria and others reviewed the draft National Environmental (Plastic Waste Control) Regulation that would enable key players to check plastic pollution in the country.

Speaking at the meeting in Abuja, the Chairman of the occasion, Prof. Babajide Alao, said the gathering was meant to carry out the final review of the document, as the issue of plastics pollution has become a global challenge to humanity.

Alao explained that the world may have been bombarded with million tonnes of plastic to the extent that streets, dumpsites, gutters, streams, seas and oceans are filled with these dangerous products that lack proper mechanisms on how to handle it.

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