Japan: Gasification Consortium Drives Chemical Recycling of Plastic Waste in Asia

Editor: Alexander Stark

JGC Corporation, Ebara Environmental Plant, Ube Industries, and Showa Denko announced that they started a study of collaboration for an Engineering, Procurement and Construction (EPC) business for plastic waste gasification facilities utilizing the Ebara Ube Process (EUP).

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A consortium started a study on a collaboration for the promotion of plastic waste gasification.
A consortium started a study on a collaboration for the promotion of plastic waste gasification.
(Source: CC0 / Pixabay )

Osaka/Japan — Promotion of plastic waste recycling has become a global issue, as seen in the ocean microplastic problem. While Japan’s plastic recycling ratio is 86 %, only 13.5 % of the plastics waste are recycled as resources and the rest is exported to other countries or thermally recycled (fiscal 2017). Furthermore, establishment of resource recycling systems is urgently needed in Japan and other countries amid tightening regulations for solid waste import in China and Southeast Asian countries.

Gasification as a chemical recycling process of plastic waste is capable of decomposing a mixture of various kinds of plastics and impurities, which presents difficulties for other recycling methods, into the molecular level and regenerating various chemical materials. It should contribute to substantial improvement of the recycling ratio.

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The EUP, which was developed by Ebara (transferred this business to Ebara Environmental Plant in 2009) and Ube Industries in 2000, is a process that gasifies plastic waste using partial oxidation with oxygen and steam, and produces synthesis gases that can be utilized in synthesis of ammonia, olefins, and other chemicals. A gasification facility steadily operating at Showa Denko’s Kawasaki Plant (annual plastic waste processing capability: approximately 70,000 tons) since 2003 applies EUP. This is the only technology for gasification chemical recycling in the world with a long-term track record of commercial operation.

The four companies aim to conclude an EUP licensing contract within the year, and then actively implement sales efforts for gasification facilities for plastic waste adopting EUP in Japan and other countries and conduct EPC activities. They also intend to promote the spread of gasification chemical recycling and use of recycling in Japan and other countries via proposals for chemical production facilities utilizing ammonia, olefins, and other chemicals made from facilities which adopt EUP.

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