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Biobased Chemicals

Shell and BP pursue renewable materials

by Craig Bettenhausen
May 14, 2022 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 100, Issue 17

Shell is jumping into biomass-based and circular chemicals at a commercial scale. At the recent ICIS World Surfactants Conference, Shell representatives said the firm is adding both plant matter and pyrolysis oil made from waste plastics to its Norco naphtha cracker outside New Orleans. The firm will assign the carbon from these feedstocks to some of its ethylene and alcohol ethoxylate surfactant output, which will allow customers to make renewable product claims. The officials said Shell already has tanker truckloads of renewable chemicals available from Norco. The firm expects to have 180,000 metric tons (t) per year available by early next year and 600,000 t per year within 3–5 years. The move builds on Shell’s 2020 agreement to purchase 60,000 t of waste plastic–derived pyrolysis oil from Nexus Fuels over 4 years. Separately, competitor BP has signed a 10-year deal to buy products from Clean Planet Energy, which is building a plant in Teesside, England, that will turn 20,000 t of plastic per year into naphtha and diesel fuel. Clean Planet says it is working on plans for 11 more facilities around the world.


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