FINLAND – Finnish engineering services firm, Neste has received a positive grant decision for up to €135 million (US$135.26m) from the EU Innovation Fund for the company’s chemical recycling project.

The company plans to build chemical recycling capacities at its Porvoo refinery in Finland, where it will implement its proprietary technologies to pretreat and upgrade liquefied waste plastic and integrate the technologies into the refinery operations.

The Pulse project (Pre-treatment and Upgrading of Liquefied Waste Plastic to Scale Up Circular Economy) is a key step towards the commercialization of the chemical recycling process, with plans to put in place pre-treatment and upgrading capacities of 400,000 metric tons per year.

Importantly, the project will allow the quality gap between unprocessed liquefied waste plastic and the petrochemical industry’s raw material requirements to be bridged, paving the way for chemical recycling processes to be implemented at scale.

Once scaled up, chemical recycling can contribute to combating waste plastic pollution by increasing recycling rates for plastics and reducing dependence on virgin fossil resources, the company said.

The project also contributes substantially to Neste’s goal of processing over 1 million tonnes of waste plastic per year from 2030 onwards.

A feasibility study evaluating the investments related to Pulse was announced in March 2022. Investment decision readiness is targeted for 2023 and gradual implementation is expected to start in 2024.

The EU Innovation Fund is one of the world’s largest funding programs for the demonstration of innovative low-carbon technologies and has announced grants of in total more than €1.8 billion to 17 large-scale projects.

“Neste is excited to be among the selected projects,” said Mercedes Alonso, Executive Vice President of Neste Renewable Polymers and Chemicals.

“While showing recognition for and faith in our work on chemical recycling, the funding also highlights the importance of the approach itself. If we want to move towards a circular economy for polymers and chemicals, chemical recycling will have a significant role to play.”

Following the positive grant decision, individual grant agreements will be prepared with the European Climate, Environment and Infrastructure Executive Agency (CINEA) in charge of the Innovation Fund.

Other projects that have been funded through the scheme include HYBRIT green steel, and various energy projects, including geothermal, solar and wind, and carbon capture projects.

Neste itself was also awarded €88 million (US$88.17m) to allow it to develop green hydrogen and carbon capture projects in a bid to wean itself off fossil fuels.

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