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OMV scales up innovative ReOil® recycling technology at Schwechat refinery

  • ReOil® technology converts plastics into synthetic feedstock for the petrochemical industry
  • Demo plant with a capacity of 16,000 t/year to start operations in 2023
  • OMV entered into its first-ever green loan agreement to finance this next step towards circular economy

OMV, the international, integrated oil, gas and chemicals company headquartered in Vienna, has taken the final investment decision to build a chemical recycling demo plant, based on its proprietary ReOil® technology. With this, OMV is taking the next step toward an industrial-scale plant planned for 2026.

The patented chemical recycling technology, developed by OMV, converts plastic waste into synthetic feedstock, under moderate pressure and normal refinery operating temperatures, which is then primarily used to produce again high-quality plastics.

OMV was among the first companies to develop a chemical recycling technology for used plastics more than a decade ago. A ReOil® pilot plant has been operating in the Schwechat refinery since 2018, capable of processing 100 kg of used plastics into 100 liters of synthetic feedstock per hour. The pilot plant has been running for a total of 13,000 hours since its commissioning and thus enabled an improvement in the thermal cracking process and supported the further scale up of the ReOil® technology.

The current investment covers the construction of a ReOil® demo plant with a design capacity of 16,000 t/year at the OMV site in Schwechat, Austria. Production startup is planned for early 2023. To finance this project, OMV entered into its first-ever green loan agreement which is in alignment with the green loan principles and based on a green and project-specific external due diligence appraisal, so-called Second Party Opinion, and a project-specific green financing framework.

The demo plant will turn plastic waste that is not fit to be mechanically recycled and would otherwise be sent to waste incineration into a valuable resource. The feedstock will be sourced in Austria, in close cooperation with local waste management companies, and will consist mainly of polyolefins. Examples of such plastic waste include food packaging, plastic cups, lids from takeaway coffee and confectionery packaging. Through the chemical recycling of plastics, OMV obtains a pure raw material which can again be used to produce virgin-quality base chemicals and plastics for all types of applications including packaging for the food industry and medical products, which must meet the highest quality and safety standards.

“The ReOil® pilot plant has shown that we are on the right track with our in-house developed technology and with our efforts in this field. We are confident that chemical recycling can complement the available mechanical recycling technologies and that it represents a sustainable and profitable solution. With the decision to build a demo plant, we are now taking the next step toward circular economy and thus toward reducing our CO2 emissions”, said Alfred Stern, CEO and Chairman of the Executive Board of OMV Aktiengesellschaft.

The plant will be fully integrated within the petrochemical site at the Schwechat refinery, enabling OMV to guarantee the best use of resources, maximum efficiency, and the highest industrial safety standards, while creating around 50 new jobs. It represents an important step toward developing ReOil® into a commercially viable, industrial-scale chemical recycling technology with a processing capacity of up to 200,000 t/year by 2026. 

Like the pilot plant, the ReOil® demo plant will be fully ISCC PLUS certified. ISCC PLUS is a sustainability standard well-recognized by all stakeholders for recycled and bio-based materials, providing traceability along the supply chain and verifying that companies meet environmental and social standards. 

Together with Borealis, OMV aims to become a leader in the circular economy of plastics. Already today, through the Group’s mechanical and chemical recycling activities, OMV and Borealis are among the first industry players to close the loop for plastics and offer a full portfolio of sustainable polyolefin solutions to its customers.

Find out more about the ReOil® technology here.

Background information:

OMV Aktiengesellschaft
OMV produces and markets oil and gas, as well as chemical products and solutions in a responsible way and develops innovative solutions for a circular economy. With Group sales revenues of EUR 17 bn and a workforce of around 25,000 employees in 2020 (incl. Borealis), OMV is one of Austria’s largest listed industrial companies. In Exploration & Production, OMV has a strong base in Central and Eastern Europe as well as a balanced international portfolio, with Middle East & Africa, the North Sea, Russia and Asia-Pacific as core regions. Daily average production was 463,000 boe/d in 2020 with an emphasis on natural gas. In Refining & Marketing, OMV operates three refineries in Europe and owns a 15% share in ADNOC Refining and ADNOC Global Trading, with a total processing capacity of more than 500,000 bbl/d. Furthermore, OMV operates about 2,100 filling stations in ten European countries and runs gas storage facilities in Austria and Germany. In 2020, total natural gas sales volumes amounted to around 164 TWh. In Chemicals & Materials, OMV, together with its subsidiary Borealis, is one of the world’s leading providers of advanced and circular polyolefin solutions and a European market leader in base chemicals, fertilizers and the mechanical recycling of plastics. The company supplies services and products to customers around the globe through Borealis and its two important joint ventures: Borouge (with the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, or ADNOC, based in UAE) and Baystar™ (with Total, based in the US). Sustainability is an integral part of OMV’s corporate strategy. OMV supports the transition to a lower-carbon economy and has set measurable targets for reducing carbon intensity as well as for the implementation of new energy and petrochemical solutions.