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Scale-Up Technology

Total announces plans to double its capacity of recycled PP for the automotive industry.

 “The Total Corbion PLA joint venture owns a plant in Thailand with a capacity of 75,000 tonnes per year of polylactic acid.”

Oil giant Total has decided to double the production capacity of its affiliate Synova to meet growing market demand for high-performance recycled materials.

By early 2021, Normandy-based Synova will produce 40,000 tonnes per year of recycled polypropylene that meets the demanding quality standards of automotive OEMs and carmakers.

“Among their many qualities, plastics help to reduce the weight of everyday items, improving their energy efficiency, and to shrink our carbon emissions. By developing the share of recycled raw materials, we provide a concrete response to the challenge of managing the end-of-life of plastics,” said Valérie Goff, Senior Vice President Polymers at Total Refining & Chemicals.

“This investment, which consolidates the acquisition of Synova in early 2019, marks a new milestone in our circular economy activities and contributes to our target of producing 30% recycled polymers by 2030 and Total’s ambition to be the responsible energy major.”

Total is a founding member of The Alliance to End Plastic Waste, an organisation that brings together around 40 member companies from across the plastics and consumer goods value chain.

They have committed more than $1 billion, with the ultimate goal of investing $1.5 billion, over the next five years to provide solutions to eliminate plastic pollution in the environment, particularly the oceans.

According to the oil firm, it is working on all forms of recycling to develop high-performance recycled polymers.

For example, Total produces Circular Compounds, polypropylene and polyethylene containing at least 50% recycled material, with the same properties as virgin grade polymers.

Total has also joined forces with Citeo, Saint-Gobain and Syndifrais to create a polystyrene recycling channel in France by 2020. The feasibility of large-scale production will be validated at the Group’s industrial sites in Carling (France) and Feluy (Belgium).

In a statement, Total said it was a “global leader in bioplastics”. The Total Corbion PLA joint venture owns a plant in Thailand with a capacity of 75,000 tonnes per year of polylactic acid (PLA), a 100% renewable-based bioplastic that is recyclable and biodegradable.

Recycled plastics goal

Total has set a target of producing 30% recycled plastics by 2030.

Total is not the only oil giant branching into producing recycled plastics. BP beefing up the production of the latter.

It has recently developed an enhanced recycling technology, BP Infinia, that enables currently unrecyclable polyethylene terephthalate (PET) plastic waste to be diverted from landfill or incineration and instead transformed back into new, virgin-quality feedstocks.

BP plans to construct a $25 million pilot plant in the US to prove the technology, before progressing to full-scale commercialisation.

Greenpeace Oceans Campaign Director John Hocevar criticised BP’s Infinia announcement. He said: “BP Infinia will not solve the plastic pollution crisis that is devastating our oceans, waterways, and communities around the globe. This is a desperate attempt from a plastic polluter to ensure it can continue making profits off of plastics.

“Plastic is polluting our planet and putting our health at risk throughout its entire lifecycle, from extraction to refining to use and disposal. Whether through fuelling the climate crisis or recklessly expanding single-use plastics, BP has shown once again that business as usual for the oil industry means chaos for the rest of us.”


If you were interested in this bioeconomy story, you may also be interested in the ones below.

Read: Oil heavyweight Total acquires French plastics recycling specialist Synova.

Read: Corbion and Total launch second-largest PLA bio-plastics plant in the world in Thailand.

Read:The future’s sweet for PLA, as Total and Corbion bolster Bonsucro sugarcane production

Read: Industry giants Total and Corbion begin their journey to “support the future of bioplastics.”

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