Can Palm Oil Enter the Circular Economy?

Its waste product should be the next big thing in bioenergy, scientists say.

Palm oil is the wonderstuff of fats. It makes our cookies crunchier, shampoo bubblier and lipstick smoother, all for a fraction of the price of other oils. However, a recent media storm has cast a shadow on the industry. Headlines have exposed the mass deforestation at the hands of palm oil production, and all the gory social and environmental issues that comes with it.

To add to the fire, the two biggest exporters of palm oil- Malaysia and Indonesia, are currently battling to overturn an EU ruling to phase out palm oil as a bioenergy source by 2030. The European bloc came to its decision after palm oil overshot its 10 percent limit on environmental compromises, by an additional 35 percent, according to a report. Has the EU ruled too soon?

In the race to make palm oil production more equitable and environmentally friendlier, Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) has explored the use of its waste product as bioenergy.

In 2017 Indonesia produced 38 million tons of crude palm oil (CPO). Though CPO has become an important stock of biodiesel for both its domestic and export markets, its waste product- palm oil mill effluent (POME) – has failed to capture the attention of the energy sector. Last year, only eight percent of Indonesia’s potential electricity generation from POME was used. This is perhaps unsurprising, given that less than 10 percent of Indonesia’s palm oil mills actually have biomass processing plants on site.

“We are looking at why, with clear business opportunities, environmental and social benefits, few businesses are interested in developing palm oil mill effluent (POME) for energy,” said CIFOR scientist, Ahmad Dermawan.

In Indonesia, thirty million people are currently living without electricity, with millions more experiencing blackouts and unreliable connection. Enter another shade of gray into the palm oil debate: the poverty-energy trap. In this cycle, poor people can’t access electricity, and without it are more likely to remain in poverty. According to Dermawan, the potential of a palm oil circular-economy is palpable: “Just by using a product that is usually considered as waste, we can prevent further deforestation and help lift rural Indonesia out of poverty,” he says.

The good news is that domestic national policy is in place to accelerate production. President of Indonesia, Joko Widodo’s government has set targets for renewable energy to make up 23 percent of Indonesia’s total energy use by 2025, which according to Indonesian Association of Biofuel Producers (APROBI), bioenergy will account for 10 percent of this target. And since 2016, a blending regulation has required all liquid fuels to be made up of at least 20 percent of biodiesel, some of which will be used for electricity generation.


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Can palm oil enter the circular economy?

Senators To Spend Billions on Electric Car Infrastructure

WASHINGTON – Republican and Democratic senators have agreed to pump billions of dollars in federal funding into building electric car charging stations and other infrastructure for low-emission vehicles.

Under an appropriations bill released by the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Monday, the Transportation Department would distribute $3.5 billion over the next five years for projects that reduce carbon emissions from transportation.

It would also hand out $1 billion in grants for infrastructure supporting vehicles powered by electricity, hydrogen or natural gas along designated sections of highway.

“This bipartisan legislation includes the first-ever climate title in a highway bill and would invest $10 billion in policies and innovative projects aimed at reducing emissions and enhancing resilience,” Sen. Tom Carper, D-Del., said in a statement.

The bill also calls for $4.9 billion in funding to protect roads and highways from natural disasters including hurricanes and wildfires, which scientists believe could increase in quantity as the planet warms.

The climate change-related funding was a relatively small part of a $287 billion transportation bill, the majority of which will go to repairing the nation’s aged highways and bridges over the next five years. The committee said it was the largest highway funding bill in history.

“By modernizing our roads and bridges, we can make the roads safer for every family driving on them,” Sen. Tom Barrasso, R-Wyo., said in a statement. “The bill cuts Washington red tape, so road construction can get done faster, better, cheaper, and smarter.”

Republicans and Democrats have been at odds over electric vehicles, which represent a threat to gasoline and diesel demand in the decades ahead as drivers make the switch. Barrasso introduced legislation in October to end tax credits for electric vehicles, saying the program “largely benefits the wealthiest Americans.”


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EU To Impose Import Duties on Indonesia Biodiesel

BRUSSELS/PARIS/JAKARTA, July 24 (Reuters) – The European Commission has proposed duties ranging from 8% to 18% on imports of biodiesel from Indonesia to counter what it says are unfair subsidies, the latest twist in a case that has lasted seven years.

The subsidies would be a double blow for Indonesian biodiesel after the European Union decided in March that palm oil should no longer be considered as green and so should be phased out of renewable transportation fuel.

The Commission, which coordinates trade policy for the 28-member European Union, launched an anti-subsidy investigation in December following a complaint by the European Biodiesel Board.

The EU executive said there was evidence that producers in Indonesia benefited from subsidies in the form of export financing, tax breaks and provision of palm oil, the key raw material, at artificially low prices.

Indonesian authorities plan to challenge the duties and will coordinate their response with the companies and the Indonesian biodiesel association, a senior Indonesian trade official told Reuters.

“The companies are now working to rebut the proposed calculations of the EU for which the deadline is this Friday,” said Pradnyawati, director of trade security at Indonesia’s Trade Ministry.

The chairman of the Indonesian producers’ biofuel association, Master Parulian Tumanggor, said the EU’s allegations were “totally untrue.”

“We Indonesian palm oil companies believe that we have never received any subsidies from the government,” he told Reuters. “The loans we received were based on a commercial scheme and we pay tax according to the regulation.”

The proposed import duty rates are 8% for Ciliandra Perkasa , 15.7% for Wilmar Group, 16.3% for Musim Mas Group and 18% for Permata Group, according to a document supplied to interested parties.

The measures would be provisional, pending the conclusion of the EU investigation, and be put in place by Sept. 6. Definitive duties, typically applied for five years at the end of an investigation, would need to be set by Jan. 4, 2020.

Measures can be blocked by EU member countries.

European biodiesel producers welcomed the move.

“It is an excellent thing for the biodiesel industry in Europe in order to regain fair and market competition as it had been the case with Argentina,” European Biodiesel Board (EBB)chairwoman Kristell Guizouarn told Reuters.

“It is legitimate to have provisional duties since there is a subsidy for Indonesian biodiesel.”

The EU began looking into biodiesel from Argentina and Indonesia in 2012 and imposed anti-dumping duties on companies from both major producers in 2013. However, the firms subsequently won challenges at the European Court of Justice and the World Trade Organization.

This prompted the EU to remove duties on most biodiesel imports from the two countries, but the Commission also started an investigation into possible unfair subsidies.

It set duties of 25.0-33.4% for Argentine producers in February, but also simultaneously offered them tariff-free access for about 1.2 million tonnes as long as they sold at a certain minimum price.


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BP Aims to Fully Charge Electric Cars in 5 minutes by 2021

UK oil giant British Petroleum has plans to make charging an electric car as close as possible to refuelling a regular fossil-fuelled vehicle.

In a recent interview, BP’s head of technology David Eyton said that it wants to provide batteries for electric cars by 2021 that can charge to 100% within just five minutes.

BP, like fellow oil and petrol majors Shell and Caltex, know that in the very least, they must embrace the shift to electric mobility, and as such are making strategic investments to grab a piece of the growing charging infrastructure market.

In the electric vehicle playing field, BP has made two investments in the past 12 months or so with which it hopes to position itself: the purchase of UK charging infrastructure provider BP Chargemaster and an investment in an obscure but promising Israeli lithium-ion battery developer called StoreDot.

The buyout of BP Chargemaster, which currently manages 6,500 charging points across the island nation, is part of a larger goal to remain a main player on the global fuel provider (BP is installing 60kW fast-chargers in China, and 150kW chargers in Germany and the UK).

However, the funds injection into StoreDot has a related but different goal.

Speaking with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Eyton says that BP’s focus for EVs is on how fast people can charge their cars.

UK oil giant British Petroleum has plans to make charging an electric car as close as possible to refuelling a regular fossil-fuelled vehicle.

In a recent interview, BP’s head of technology David Eyton said that it wants to provide batteries for electric cars by 2021 that can charge to 100% within just five minutes.

BP, like fellow oil and petrol majors Shell and Caltex, know that in the very least, they must embrace the shift to electric mobility, and as such are making strategic investments to grab a piece of the growing charging infrastructure market.

In the electric vehicle playing field, BP has made two investments in the past 12 months or so with which it hopes to position itself: the purchase of UK charging infrastructure provider BP Chargemaster and an investment in an obscure but promising Israeli lithium-ion battery developer called StoreDot.

The buyout of BP Chargemaster, which currently manages 6,500 charging points across the island nation, is part of a larger goal to remain a main player on the global fuel provider (BP is installing 60kW fast-chargers in China, and 150kW chargers in Germany and the UK).

However, the funds injection into StoreDot has a related but different goal.

Speaking with Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Eyton says that BP’s focus for EVs is on how fast people can charge their cars.

Per StoreDot’s own description:

Using a unique multifunction electrode (MFE), StoreDot’s FlashBattery combines two benefits of energy storage solutions, incorporating the high-power rapid-charging rate capability with the high-energy storage ability.

This optimized charging ability is achieved through an innovative electrode structure containing proprietary organic polymers with Metal Oxide compounds of the cathode that trigger the redox reactions.

This solution enables ions to flow from a modified anode to a modified cathode at a speed that is much faster than existing technologies. Together with a proprietary separator and electrolyte, this new architecture delivers a high current and low internal resistance, with enhanced energy density and a prolonged battery life.

What this means in essence is that should StoreDot’s vision come to fruition, BP could remain not only a mainstay in powering mobility, but also possibly become a battery provider to automakers.

When the investment into StoreDot was first announced in May 2018, BP chief Tufan Erginbiglic said in a statement that, “Ultra-fast charging is at the heart of BP’s electrification strategy. StoreDot’s technology shows real potential for car batteries that can charge in the same time it takes to fill a gas tank.”

“With our growing portfolio of charging infrastructure and technologies, we’re excited by our opportunities to develop truly innovative EV customer offers. We are committed to be the fuel provider of choice – no matter what car our customers drive.”


Published on and written by Bridie Schmidt

Oil major BP aims to fully charge electric cars in 5 minutes by 2021

Zara Announces 100% Sustainable Fabrics and Eco-Efficient Stores

Zara has announced that it will commit to making collections from 100% sustainable fabrics by 2025 in a list of green initiatives outlined by the high street label today. Speaking with its shareholders, Zara stated that its portfolio of 7,500 stores will be eco-efficient by the end of 2019, and that it has committed to zero waste in landfills from Zara facilities.

Today, only 20% of Zara’s collections are made from sustainable fabrics. To increase this, alongside other sustainable initiatives, Zara has brought in a new board of directors who are solely focused on these future-proofing goals. It aims for 80% renewable energy consumption in its headquarters, logistics plants and stores by 2025 as well.

This announcement follows in the footsteps of brands including UNIQLO and its owner Fast Retailing, which recently said it would reduce single-use plastic by 85% by 2020, as well as Burberry, which recently revealed its plans to be carbon neutral by 2022.

Similarly to UNIQLO, Zara will begin to eliminate single-use plastic supplied to its clients. The company has already begun managing its waste by reusing recycled cardboard shipping boxes up to six times, using recycled plastics internally and the company has started working on a way to re-circulate clothes hangers.

For Zara, sustainability can be implemented everywhere. 90% of its website is run by renewable energy and its design studio pattern cutters create one sleeve or a single lapel instead of the conventional two and unstitch patterns to then be repurposed.

Pablo Isla, executive chairman and chief executive officer of Zara owner Inditex told WWD, “We need to be a force for change, not only in the company but in the whole sector… We are the ones establishing these targets: The strength and impulse for change is coming from the commercial team, the people who are working with our suppliers, the people working with fabrics. It is something that’s happening inside our company.”

In case you missed it, check out the sustainable adidas by Stella McCartney collection which makes products from liquified, repurposed cotton.


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‘Eco-shaming’ is on the rise, but does it work?

How are your green credentials? Unless they’re whiter than white, you may encounter a new phenomenon: ‘eco-shaming’.

With environmental activism on the rise this year as the consequences of climate change become all too clear, there’s a new trend to call out people who pollute the planet.

Take the use of plastic, for example. Single-use plastic bags are now recognized as a huge problem for the environment. Because they can’t be recycled, they end up in landfill – or find their way into the world’s oceans and are ingested by fish and, eventually, us.

Countries around the world are introducing ways to deal with the plastic problem. Rwanda has had a ban on plastic bags for more than a decade, while Canada has recently announced plans to ban single-use plastics by 2021, including grocery bags, plastic cutlery and straws.

But one grocery store owner in Vancouver came up with a cunning plan to discourage shoppers from using plastic bags.

Their groceries were placed in bags reading “Wart Ointment Wholesale”, “The Colon Care Co-Op” or “Into the Weird Adult Video Emporium”.

However, the idea slightly back-fired as people flocked to the grocery store paying the five-cent plastic bag penalty just to get their hands on the unique designs.

Shamed on social

When it comes to protecting the earth’s natural habitat, social media is playing its part.

Instagram posts are highlighting bad behaviour on America’s public lands. A post on an account of a woman holding a bouquet of uprooted poppies from a national park attracted caustic commentary, as well as investigations from the National Park Service.

An online petition was set up calling for Instagram and Facebook to “act immediately and implement a system allowing users to report violations that are both illegal and harmful to the environment”.

Whether the vigilantes on social media are altering the behaviour of those whose posts they shame remains to be seen, but one area where shaming appears to have worked is Swedish air travel.

Flight shaming

In Sweden, travellers are becoming more and more conscious of their carbon footprint. And they’ve invented a word to discourage people taking to the skies: “Flygskam” – which means flight shame.

Swedes are increasingly looking to travel in a way that is less harmful to the environment. The impact has been particularly felt on domestic flights, with passenger numbers down by 15% in April alone, compared with last year. In a recent survey, a quarter of Swedes said they had decided not to fly to save the planet.

And if they’re not flight shaming, the Swedes are train bragging. Swedish travellers took two million extra rail journeys last year. So yes, they have a special word for that, too: “Tagskryt” – and it’s widely used on social media by those who want to encourage others to do the same.

It would appear that there are areas where eco-shaming works and those where it doesn’t, but most agree that protecting the environment is becoming more urgent and needs action by everyone.


‘Eco-shaming’ is on the rise, but does it work?

BP Forces its Way Into Renewables with New Bioenergy Firm

Oil giant BP has announced its “major expansion” into the renewable energy marketplace with a new partnership in the biopower sector.

The firm has formed a 50/50 joint venture with US-headquartered agricultural commodities company Bunge to form new venture, BP Bunge Bioenergia.

Under the agreement, BP will combine it’s Brazilian biopower and biofuels business with Bunge to create a business that produces sugarcane ethanol in Brazil.

The deal will see BP pay £60 million to Bunge and assume more than £650m debt in Bunge assets.

BP Bunge Bioenergia will also create 11 biofuels sites in Brazil.

It claims almost 70% of vehicles in Brazil currently run on ethanol and it expects the country’s demand for ethanol to increase by around 70% by 2030.

Bob Dudley, BP group chief executive, said: “This is another large-scale example of BP’s commitment to play a leading role in a rapid transition to a low carbon future.

“Biofuels will be an essential part of delivering the energy transition and Brazil is leading the way in showing how they can be used at scale, reducing emissions from transport.

“This combination will unlock new possibilities for improved efficiency and future growth in this key market.”


Published on and written by David McPhee

Japan Receives First Shipment of ETBE from US Corn-Based Ethanol

Following a recent policy change by the Japanese Government, the country has received its first shipment of ethyl tert-butyl ether (ETBE) made from US corn-based ethanol.

According to the US Grains Council (USGC), this first shipment to Japan marks the country’s new demand for US ethanol-based products, as well as a milestone in efforts to develop the US ethanol market internationally.

The policy change recognises the greenhouse gas (GHG) benefits of ETBE, which is a component of gasoline, and means that US corn-based ethanol is now able to be used in the production of ETBE to be imported into Japan.

The Asian nation will allow US ethanol to meet up to 44% of a total estimated annual demand of 217 million gallons of ethanol used in the production of ETBE, which equates to around 95.5 million gallons of ethanol.

Japan Biofuels Supply purchased the first shipment of ETBE from the US, which was unloaded at Chiba port near Tokyo, and then Wakayama port near Osaka.

The shipment of 13.5 million gallons is equal to 2 million bushels of corn demand, the USGC added.


  • It is in their both advantages that US and Japan work more more closely together.


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Japan receives first shipment of ETBE from US corn-based ethanol

Electric Cars In Europe Will Triple By 2021

After several years of timid growth, carmakers in the European Union will be offering 214 electric car models in 2021 – up from the 60 available today, according to data from industry source IHS Markit.

The analysis, published by Brussels-based environmental NGO Transport & Environment, concludes that the number of car models will triple in just three years because of intense recent work work by automakers who must meet EU requirements to lower the average emissions from their fleets.

“Thanks to the EU car CO2 standards, Europe is about to see a wave of new, longer range, and more affordable electric cars hit the market,” said Lucien Mathieu, transport and e-mobility analyst at T&E.

“That is good news but the job is not yet done,” he added. “We need governments to help roll out EV charging at home and at work, and we need changes to car taxation to make electric cars even more attractive than polluting diesels, petrols or poor plug-in hybrid vehicles.”

92 fully electric car models will be brought to market in 2021, in addition to 118 plug-in hybrid models. According to the analysis, by 2025 22% of vehicles produced in the EU will have a plug. If this is the case, it would be more than enough for EU carmakers to meet the CO2 emissions limit that year.

The biggest production centers for electric cars will be in Western Europe, led by Germany, France, Spain and Italy. In the east, Slovakia is forecast to produce the highest number of electric vehicles per capita by 2025, followed by Czechia and Hungary.

The uncertainty over no-deal Brexit is dampening the prospect of any significant investment in electric car production in the UK, according to the analysis.

Some in the auto industry have said uncertainty over the availability of charging stations, and the reliability of batteries, make the widespread deployment of electric cars unfeasible.

They have said the better area of investment would be alternative fuels that could work with existing auto structures.

But the analysis finds that production plans for other alternative drivetrains are almost non-existent. Only 9,000 fuel cell cars in total are forecast to be produced by 2025 compared to four million electric cars.

The production of compressed natural gas cars is even set to decrease, accounting for fewer than 1% of vehicles produced in Europe by the mid-2020s.


This article was published on and written by Dave Keating

Electric Cars In Europe Will Triple By 2021 – Report

UN Report Warns of Clash Between Bioenergy and Food

Models suggest large areas of land are needed for forests and biofuel crops to halt climate change, but this risks worsening hunger, draft tells policymakers.

Blanketing the globe with monocultures of forests and bioenergy crops is no dream fix to the climate crisis, a leaked draft report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) warns.

Models suggest large areas of land are needed to draw carbon dioxide out of the air to limit global warming to 1.5C, the most ambitious target in the Paris Agreement.

This risks worsening hunger by competing with food production for space, according to the draft summary for policymakers obtained by Business Standard.

“Widespread use at the scale of several millions of km2 globally” of tree-planting and bioenergy crops could have “potentially irreversible consequences for food security and land degradation”, the report said.

Intensifying the production of bioenergy crops through the use of fertilisers, irrigation and monocultures could also erode soil and its capacity to soak up carbon in the long run.

UN report on 1.5C blocked from climate talks after Saudi Arabia disputes science

There is rising demand for fuels derived from plants as a source of renewable energy. The Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA), describes modern bioenergy as the “overlooked giant” of renewables, predicting it will outpace solar, wind and hydropower in the next five years.

However, converting land to bioenergy production could deprive countries of valuable agricultural soil and displace crops and livestock to less productive regions. Populations most at risk of food insecurity were sub Saharan Africa and southern Asia, the IPCC draft said.

To minimise the conflict, scientists advised governments to limit the scale of bioenergy. Depending on the way countries developed, negative effects from biofuel crops could kick in starting from between 2 and 6 million km2 globally.

A safer way to reduce land emissions is to protect and restore ecosystems known for their capacity to absorb carbon, including grasslands, peatlands and coastal wetlands, which affect smaller areas.

On the food production side, measures to cut waste and a shift to lower meat diets can also help to alleviate pressure on land.

The report dealt a blow to the system of intensive agriculture spawned after the second world war and called for a shift to sustainable farming. The current food system is responsible for over half of human-caused methane emissions and 25-30% of total greenhouse gas emissions.

Breaking monocultures by cultivating several crops at once, planting more crops to enrich and protect soil, such as legumes, and reducing tillage could help soil absorb more carbon.

The findings chime with research by French think tank IDDRI published in December, which showed that an agroecological food system in Europe could slash emissions by around 40% compared to 2010.

The report urged policymakers to consult local people, “particularly the most vulnerable”, over the use of land. This could help governments identify the most appropriate uses for land and overcome potential conflicts or trade-offs.

Responding to media reports on the leak, the IPCC said in a statement that “drafts of the report are collective works in progress that do not necessarily represent the IPCC’s final assessment of the state of knowledge”.

Government representatives are due to meet 2-6 August to consider the report and finalise the summary for policymakers ahead of publication.


This article was published on and written by Natalie Sauer

Renault Invests In China Electric Vehicle Sector

  • Worldwide electric car sales hit 1.98 million in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency.
  • Renault says the venture will look to “further promote the development” of China’s electric vehicle industry.

Auto maker Renault and the Jiangling Motors Corporation Group (JMCG) have officially set up a joint venture for electric vehicles in China.

In an announcement Wednesday, Renault said that the venture would look to “further promote the development” of China’s electric vehicle industry.

Renault will increase its share capital by around 128.5 million euros ($144.1 million) to become a major shareholder of JMEV, a subsidiary of JMCG. Renault’s stake in JMEV will increase to 50%.

Francois Provost, senior vice president and chairman of the China region for Groupe Renault, described China as a key market for the firm. “This partnership in electric vehicle business with JMCG will support our growth plan in China and our EV capabilities,” Provost added.

Worldwide electric car sales hit 1.98 million in 2018, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA), with global stock reaching 5.12 million.

China’s electric car market is the biggest on the planet, the IEA says, with Europe and the U.S. following behind. There were 2.3 million electric cars on China’s roads last year, according to the IEA, representing roughly 45% of the world’s total.


This article was published on and written by Anmar Frangoul

ALPLA Wants to Reduce its Carbon Footprint by 10 per cent by 2022

Third sustainability report documents ALPLA’s commitment to sustainable development

The third sustainability report released by ALPLA, the global specialists in packaging solutions, provides detailed insights into the company’s development strategy.

The report describes the progress of sustainable development from 2016 to 2018, which has then been used as a basis for formulating ambitious objectives for 2019 to 2022.

ALPLA’s sustainability record for the past three years is very positive: energy consumption in relation to production volumes was reduced by 6.6 per cent and consumption of fresh water in relation to material usage by 40 per cent.

The company even far exceeded its target for using recycled materials: ‘Demand has risen sharply in the reporting period. ALPLA has more than 25 years of experience in recycling, both in the manufacture of recyclates and in their processing.

That’s why we’re able to offer our customers functioning solutions on both side,’ emphasises Christoph Hoffmann, Director Corporate Strategy, Sustainability & Circular Economy.

The company was also able to reduce its carbon footprint, albeit not as much as planned: ‘We experienced more growth than expected in countries with carbon‐intensive electricity production,’ Linda Mauksch, Sustainability Officer at ALPLA since 2012, offers as an explanation for why the carbon footprint objective could not be achieved.

Think global, act local

‘Global targets can only be achieved with efforts by all regions,’ Mauksch says from experience. ALPLA has 178 plants in 46 countries.

Of these plants, 72 are ‘in‐house’, meaning they are directly part of the customer’s operations. This approach reduces transport routes and carbon emissions.

Many plants have planned and implemented their own sustainability projects. The sustainability report outlines successful examples of such projects in India, Brazil and Portugal.

Innovations and ambitious objectives

As an innovation leader, ALPLA can also point to several flagship initiatives in the area of product development: from bottles made entirely of recyclate and the home‐compostable coffee capsule to the Simple One, a HDPE bottle that is up to 60 per cent lighter than standard bottles. From 2022, the company wants to bring at least three innovations to the market each year.

It also aims to reduce its carbon footprint absolutely by 10 per cent – even with its projected annual growth of three per cent.

Circular economy as a success factor

In 2018, another partnership in Wolfen (Germany) joined the three PET recycling plants in Mexico, Austria and Poland. The four sites deliver 70,000 tonnes of food‐grade PET recyclate per year.

With its New Plastics Economy Global Commitment, ALPLA has committed to manufacturing 100% recyclable products by 2025 and investing 50 million euros in the expansion of recycling activities.

The volume of processed post‐consumer recycled materials should rise to 25 per cent of total material usage by this time.

Recycling completes the circuit that starts with ‘design for recycling’. ‘This is the key to sustainable packaging solutions,’ the Executive Board asserts in the sustainability report.

First online report for ALPLA

The full version of the report is available online for the first time, with printed abridged versions in German, English and Spanish.

The report has been prepared in accordance with sustainability reporting standards and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). ALPLA’s stakeholders – the owner family, along with selected employees, customers and suppliers – chose the ten subject areas covered in the report.

These areas range from innovation leadership and safety in the workplace to the reduction of carbon emissions. ALPLA prepared the report with help from c7‐consult, a consultancy firm specialising in sustainability.


Australians Convince New Zealand To Build First Recycled Plastic Plant

Australian packaging company Pact Group has received a $3 million Government grant to set up the first 100 per cent recycled plastic food packaging plant in New Zealand.

Environment Associate Minister Eugenie Sage said while recycled plastic was available in New Zealand, about 20 per cent was made with new plastic to comply with the food packaging safety standards.

The recycled plastic packaging from the plant, to be built in Auckland, would be used across 10 products, including meat, bakery and produce.

Sage said the plant was a response to China’s decision stop importing plastic waste from countries around the world, including New Zealand, for processing.

“We need to tackle our waste in New Zealand, we’ve had a record of sending them offshore. China’s National Sword initiative has highlighted that we need to build more reprocessing infrastructure in New Zealand,” Sage said.


  • What are you thinking? Are the kangaroos ripping off the Kiwis?
  • Come on! The New Zealanders are not that naïve …or are they?


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TOP 10 Electric vehicles in the US

Tesla was the electric-vehicle sales leader in the US by a wide margin during the first half of 2019, according to estimates from the electric-vehicle website InsideEVs.

It sold around 83,875 vehicles in the US between January and June, InsideEVs estimated, over 10 times the number of vehicles sold by General Motors, which came in second in the rankings.

While Tesla sells three fully-electric models, more than most other automakers, Tesla’s best-selling vehicle, the Model 3 luxury sedan, outsold every other vehicle by at least 750%, according to InsideEVs.

But electric vehicles account for just 1% of the US automotive market and remain unprofitable for Tesla and many of its rivals, which means traditional automakers may not yet be motivated to sell them in large numbers.

These are the 10 best-selling electric vehicles in the US during the first half of this year, according to InsideEVs.

The website’s estimates are based on factors like vehicle identification numbers and automaker sales data, though some are based more heavily on the judgement of InsideEVs’ staff.

  • 10. Smart EQ fortwo – 2019 US sales through June: 496
  • 9. Jaguar I-Pace – 2019 US sales through June: 1,309
  • 8. Audi e-tron -2019 US sales through June: 1,835
  • 7. Volkswagen e-Golf – 2019 US sales through June: 1,893
  • 6. BMW i3 – 2019 US sales through June: 2,207
  • 5. Nissan Leaf – 2019 US sales through June: 6,008
  • 4. Tesla Model S – 2019 US sales through June: 7,225
  • 3. Chevrolet Bolt EV – 2019 US sales through June: 8,281
  • 2. Tesla Model X – 2019 US sales through June: 9,000
  • 1. Tesla Model 3 – 2019 US sales through June: 67,650


This article was published on and written by Hollis Johnson

Australasian Recycling Label Celebrates First Anniversary

As the Australasian Recycling Label celebrates its first anniversary, APCO CEO Brooke Donnelly reflects on the success of the recycling education program to date and shares what to expect next for the campaign.

Australia is a country of proud and passionate recyclers. Yet research consistently demonstrates that Australians want more information about how to recycle correctly.

A Global Recycling Day report developed by Nestle and Planet Ark found that while an overwhelming majority of Australians (96 per cent) are eager to recycle, 94 per cent of people still put one or more non-recyclable items in their recycling bin.

And with more than 200 Australian recycling labels currently in circulation, it’s easy to understand why consumers don’t always get it right.

To tackle this challenge, in 2018 Australian Packaging Covenant Organisation (APCO) joined forces with Planet Ark and Packaging Recycling Evaluation Portal (PREP) Design to launch the Australasian Recycling Label (ARL) – a nationwide labelling scheme to help consumers better recognise how to recycle products effectively.

The evidence-based system provides simple instructions about how to correctly dispose of each individual packaging component when people need it most, in those few seconds when they are deciding what bin their package goes in.

It’s been one year since we delivered the program to our APCO members and the scheme has much to celebrate, with overwhelming support from both government and industry.

In September 2018, the Hon Melissa Price, Minister for the Environment, officially launched the program at an APCO industry event in Melbourne.

I’m delighted to confirm there are now more than 200 Australian businesses committed to the scheme.

A huge thank you to our industry champions who have adopted the label and are leading the way for other businesses in their sector.

A comprehensive program

The true power of the ARL lies in its evidence-based approach. For a business to adopt the label, they first need to join the Packaging Recycling Label Program, a free scheme available to all APCO members, and measure their packaging’s recyclability using PREP.

It’s a unique analysis tool that enables companies to assess whether packaging is recyclable in the kerbside system or the REDcycle program.

To ensure PREP’s determinations are as accurate as possible, in 2018 APCO formed the Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), a group of experts from across the value chain in recycling and packaging.

Working in partnership with the TAC is the Marketing Advisory Committee, a team representing businesses, retailers, recycling industry and local and state government.

The next phase of the label

In 2019, we will be taking the ARL to its next phase with two new updates.

The first is a recycled content label to help drive consumer awareness and demand for recycled content products.

The second is a compostability label to provide much needed clarity and leadership in the compostable/biodegradable space.

We have a range of projects underway to support these updates and work through the challenges involved.

These include trials to confirm which certified organic materials can be processed in Australia’s organics recycling facilities.

This is alongside a research paper to understand best practices for recycled content labels internationally and consultation activities to ensure robust stakeholder feedback.

I’d particularly like to commend Unilever for its leadership in the recycled content space, partnering with Planet Ark and APCO to lead consumer testing around the integration of a post-consumer recycled (PCR) call out within the ARL.

These findings will be integral to the roll out of the ARL across PCR packaging.

Part of a bigger picture

The ARL is one part of a much bigger program of work currently being delivered by APCO and our partners to bring to life the 2025 National Packaging Targets.

Education is a critical piece of the puzzle, and the program will help drive greater industry participation and transparency about their packaging recyclability.

To keep driving the success of the label, we need engagement and support from right across the supply chain.

Clive Stiff
CEO, Unilever Australia & New Zealand

“As a consumer goods company, we are acutely aware of the consequences of a linear take-make-dispose model and we want to change it. It is clear that urgent action is needed on multiple fronts. We want to help build a circular economy in which we not only use less plastic, but also ensure the plastic we do use can be reused, recycled or composted. We are proud of our landmark rHDPE move and for being one of the first companies to voluntarily sign up to the ARL, but no business can create a circular economy in isolation. Creating a local market and demand for all types of recycled plastic is critical and heavy lifting is needed from all players involved – suppliers, packaging converters, brand owners, policy makers and retailers, collectors, sorters and recyclers.”

Jacky Nordsvan
Packaging Specialist, Nestle

“Nestlé made a commitment to implement the ARL on all locally made products by 2020 as it fully aligns with our ambition to have 100 per cent recyclable or reusable packaging by 2025. Clear labelling on our products plays a really important role in helping make sure our consumers don’t waste their waste, but feel confident in what they can recycle. Implementing the ARL, while challenging at times, has resulted in many positives for Nestlé, largely centred around making us think outside the box and be more innovative with packaging design. I encourage other organisations to adopt the scheme. I have no doubt they will also find the process brings forth many positives for them.”

Alejandra Laclette
Recycling Label Program Manager, Planet Ark Environmental Foundation

“There has never been a better, nor more urgent, time for brands to adopt the Australasian Recycling Label. Research shows that the first place consumers look for packaging disposal information is the package itself. If we want to collectively succeed in processing the country’s packaging, it is vital to provide accurate disposal information that reflects the infrastructure that we have.”

To find out how you can join other leading businesses in the Packaging Recycling Label Program, contact APCO at


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Turning Mine Waste Into Bio-Mineral Fertilizer

Plymouth, CA…Advanced Materials Processing, Inc. (AMPI) announced the award of their patent for cleaning mine waste and using the resulting deep-core earth as a source for natural fertilizer.

Effective July 19, the patent covers the company’s unique, non-toxic process that will extract mercury from mine waste. The process also extracts precious metals like arsenic, gold, silver, lead and cadmium, leaving behind earth that is rich in beneficial minerals.

According to Leonard Nanis, former University of Pennsylvania professor of chemical engineering and lead inventor, the patent also covers the company’s process of mixing the rock powder with bio-waste to create a natural fertilizer suitable for sustainable agriculture.

The fertilizer will remineralize and restore plant essential nutrients that have been depleted by conventional chemical fertilizers, he said.

“This patent marks a major advance in the effort to maintain the planet’s food supply,” Dennis Amoroso, AMPI president said. “The planet’s population is growing, yet crop yields are declining as farm soil nutrients decrease. Our fertilizer will restart the soils natural fertility cycle.” Further, he explained, the fertilizer adds nutrients, bacteria and fungi to soil.

These elements restart the essential chemistry required for the complex interactions in the plant’s root region. Fungi are needed to produce acids which extract mineral nutrients from rock particles and deliver to the growing plants.

Enzymes, bacteria and organisms act together to assist growth.

The addition of rock powder to soil acts as a restorative, unlike synthetic fertilizers that function once and do not contribute to soil viability.

While the process of adding rock powder is well-recognized for nutrient elements in farm soil, it is in short supply.

Which is why the billions of tons of mine waste offers such an extraordinary opportunity.

However, the conventional methods of extracting heavy metals from mine waste requires toxic chemicals which are counter-productive and destroy the environment as well as any potential for using the remains.

“With our patented process that removes heavy metals without using toxic chemicals, we have access to mine waste—almost an unlimited supply,” Amoroso continued. “We can extract the left over gold, silver, mercury and arsenic, and convert the deep-core earth into a natural fertilizer that will revitalize farm topsoil.”

AMPI has begun work with abandoned gold and silver mines in California, Nevada and a coal mine in Colorado.

Once the mine waste is clean and removed for fertilizer, the remaining areas are safe for recreational or residential activities.

Plant Nutrition Technologies is AMPI’s sister company. It mixes the mine waste with biomass to create a 100 percent natural fertilizer.

Called PoweRoc, this natural fertilizer is rich in minerals, bacteria and fungi, which will rebalance crop and farm soil, increasing yield in an environmentally safe manner.

In California, PoweRoc is produced in Plymouth, using the waste from the Empire mine, one of the state’s historic Gold Rush mining operations.

It is then used on almond and walnut orchards, replacing chemical fertilizers.

Besides rebalancing the soil, the product has a natural ability to reduce the amount of water needed for a crop, which is critical in California’s farm industry.


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Patent Awarded to Turn Mine Waste into Bio-Mineral Fertilizer

US Biodiesel Company Commits Environmental Fraud

Federal officials in California fined a San Joaquin biodiesel manufacturing company $401,000 for violating Clean Water Act violations after the firm admitted to tampering with monitoring equipment and dumping wastewater into a city sewer system in Stockton.

The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of California announced July 11 the fines against American Biodiesel Inc., saying employees tampered with flow meters and acidity recordings to underreport pollutants that would have violated city regulations.


  • How is this possible anno 2019?
  • Does this reflect the values of the company?
  • Was the CEO or Senior Management involved in this fraud?


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California Biodiesel Firm Fined Over Dumping Wastewater

Nestle Waters Teams up with Ocean Legacy for Plastic Waste Cleanup

PARIS (Reuters) – Nestle’s (NESN.S) bottled water division Nestle Waters, owner of Perrier and Vittel, said it would team up with Canada’s Ocean Legacy Foundation to help to clean up plastic pollution.

Consumer goods companies, such as Nestle, are under pressure to do more to reduce the waste their business generates as consumers become increasingly aware of the damaging impact of plastic that ends up in landfill and oceans.

Many of them, including Nestle and French peer Danone (DANO.PA), have made voluntary pledges to make all of their plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

But environmental groups say the key to reducing plastic pollution is prevention, notably through the introduction of bottle deposits.

Non-profit group Ocean Legacy Foundation fights plastic ocean pollution with clean-up expeditions, land-based plastic collection, recycling, education and pollution hot-spot mapping.

Paris-based Nestle Waters will work with Ocean Legacy to support clean-up projects for communities around the world, including education and infrastructure, Nestle Waters Head of Sustainability Carlo Galli said in a statement.

But Thibault Turchet, with environmental campaigning group Zero Waste France, said of the Nestle alliance with Ocean Legacy that it would be better for Nestle and other large plastic waste producers to return to bottling drinks in glass and cut down on plastic packaging that is unrecyclable.

“They send organisations to work on beach cleaning and education, but they don’t work on prevention and waste production,” Thibault said.

Nestle Waters said that 20% of the water it sells globally is already packaged in returnable and refillable bottles and that a further 2% is sold in returnable and refillable glass for the hotel and restaurant trade.

“We are continually testing and developing viable alternatives, such as biodegradable and bio-based materials, glass, aluminum and carton packaging,” a Nestle Waters spokeswoman said.

In early 2020, Nestle Waters will also launch new high-tech water dispensers, allowing consumers to fill their own reusable bottles. It also works with local governments and communities to develop PET (plastic) collection adapted to each country.

The Nestle Waters partnership with Ocean Legacy involves an undisclosed yearly funding agreement, initially for five years.

The program will also include tools and education materials to help communities in creating new products and value from the waste collected during the cleanups.


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Nestle Waters teams up with Ocean Legacy for plastic waste cleanup

South Australia Ban on Single Use Plastic Cutlery And Straws

Over past few years, efforts to reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in our oceans have skyrocketed.

Everyone is seemingly doing their bit to limit their impact on the environment, but it takes governments and companies to make the big changes that creates the biggest avenue to change.

The South Australian government has announced it will ban single-use plastic straws and cutlery from next year.

The Australian first initiative still needs to be passed through parliament but it’s hoped thousands of tonnes of plastic will be saved from our waterways.

Minister for Environment and Water David Speirs said: “It is clear from the more than 3,500 submissions that there is significant community and industry support for increased measures to address a range of single-use plastic products and other items.

“Nearly 99 per cent of respondents recognised the environmental problems associated with single use plastics and nearly 97 per cent supported government intervention.

“The community has called for swift action on single-use plastic products.

“In light of this overwhelming community support, the Marshall Liberal Government has developed a plan to ban single-use plastic products and other single-use items.

“At first, we will look at products including plastic straws, cutlery and stirrers with items such as takeaway polystyrene containers and cups next.

“Further consideration would be needed when looking at takeaway coffee cups, plastic bags and other takeaway food service items following consultation.

“We will release draft legislation for further public consultation later this year with the intention to introduce it to the Parliament in 2020.

“I encourage industry stakeholders to register their interest for the stakeholder taskforce.

“Social and corporate action is already underway on some of these items, and there are readily availability alternatives.”

Hobart City Council became the first capital in Australia to ban single-use plastics and straws.

Councillor Bill Harvey said the city was ‘leading by example’ and hoped that other municipalities would follow suit.

And why the hell not?

The move was agreed earlier this year, with the changes to take effect next year. It’s hoped the period in between legislating and enacting will give businesses and stakeholders enough time to make changes to the way they do things.

There’s no word on when or if the state plans to follow in Hobart’s footsteps.


This article was published on ladbible-com and written by Stewart Perrie

South Australia Will Phase Out Single Use Plastic Cutlery And Straws Next Year

Hidden Problem with Australia’s Recycling Plan

Australians are diligent when it comes to recycling — but there’s a big problem with our current scheme, and its environmental impact is huge.

Now our recycling is being knocked back by China and Indonesia, is it time to face the truth about recycling?

I recycle. Of course I do. I’m not an environmental vandal. That’s what I always told myself anyway. But recent news from the recycling industry has me wondering. Is recycling any good at all?

A big shipping container of Australian plastics has been rejected by Indonesia. The Indonesian authorities have decided it is contaminated, and they are shipping it back to us. A big diesel-chugging cargo ship will bring it back to Australia. Not very environmentally friendly.


The recycling industry has always been hard to make work.

Even with free inputs it certainly doesn’t pay for itself. The only way to make recycling viable is to ship products offshore to places where labour is cheap.

But then, last year, China stopped taking the world’s recycling.

And suddenly the world had to face a great surplus of recyclables and the reality that to keep recycling out of landfill was going to cost a lot of money.

Recycling is now being stored in a lot of places in the hope we soon find a solution.

And now Indonesia is rejecting our recycling too. Things seem to be going from bad to worse.


I have to say, this is not what I imagine when I drop my empty milk bottles in the recycling bin.

I imagine a clean green future for them, not being shipped halfway around the world and then sent back again.

It makes you wonder if the environmental cost of recycling is worth it.

The answer to that question depends a lot on what substance you’re talking about.

When it comes to saving energy, recycling aluminium is very good.

Aluminium uses a lot of energy to make the first time but not much to recycle. You can recycle it infinite times. You should definitely recycle aluminium.

Paper is good to recycle too. When you recycle paper, you save about half the energy of making it for the first time.

But plastic is different. Plastic doesn’t take much energy to make the first time.

And it uses a lot of energy to recycle. A truck has to come and get it from your house, and then it goes on a ship to Asia.

And then they sort it out on a conveyor belt, and finally they melt it down.

All that uses energy, and even then, plastic can only be recycled once. They make it into fleece clothing or railway sleepers. Food grade plastic is all fresh and new.

There’s only a sliver of energy saving in recycling plastic, although it does still reduce the amount going to landfill. (The debate over whether we’re actually short of spaces to put landfill is a whole other issue.)


The costs of recycling are high. Recycling uses a lot of energy and money that we could spend on other environmental programs.

But the biggest cost of recycling could be in making us relax. The hierarchy goes like this: reduce, reuse, recycle. Reducing how much we use is far, far better for the environment than using something and recycling it.

Nobody wants to waste resources. The problem is recycling doesn’t feel like wasting things, even though it might only be a few per cent better than throwing things out.

Boston University researchers Monic Sun and Remi Trudel have found when you know in advance you can recycle, you waste far more.


They did an ingenious experiment to prove this. The researchers got students and told them they were being asked to sample juice.

One by one, they put each student in a room with four different kinds of juice and a lot of plastic cups.

Twenty-four students went into a room with only a rubbish bin, and 25 students went into a room with only a recycling bin. And the researchers counted how many cups they used.

The only difference between the two set-ups was the presence of the recycling bin for half the students, so this experiment was a good way to test if the ability to recycle makes people more wasteful.

The students who went into a room with only a rubbish bin didn’t always choose a new plastic cup for every type of juice. Many of them re-used the same cup for multiple juices. The average number of cups they used was 2.7.

But the students who saw the recycling bin used new cups with wanton abandon. The average number of cups they used was 3.48. In other words, they almost all used a new cup for every type of juice.

The researchers ran another experiment to check. Again they split students into two groups. This time they asked them to wrap a gift in a room that had either only a rubbish bin or a recycle bin. The ones in the room containing a recycling bin used more paper to wrap the gift.

Together, this seems to raise the question of whether knowing we are able to recycle plastic might make us more wasteful. Now that China is not taking our recycling might be a good time for us to check our behaviour.

Did we end up with all that stuff because we knew we’d feel OK about recycling it later? If so, the biggest cost of recycling could be its most hidden one: the way it makes us relaxed about buying all that packaging.


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BASF Chemcycling Products

  • BASF’s partners in the ChemCycling project: Jaguar Land Rover, Storopack, Südpack and Schneider Electric
  • Promising pilot phase, but continued technological and economic challenges as well as need for regulatory development.

More and more companies from the plastics industry are working on improving the recyclability of plastics and thus helping to create a circular economy.

One way that BASF is contributing is the ChemCycling project: At the end of 2018, the company first used pilot volumes of a pyrolysis oil derived from plastic waste as a feedstock in its own production.

At a press conference in advance of K 2019, the world’s largest trade show for the plastics and rubber industry, four partners have showcased the first prototypes that were created during the pilot phase of the project.

Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), a leading automotive manufacturer, developed a plastic front-end carrier prototype for its first electric SUV, the I-Pace, out of Ultramid® B3WG6 Ccycled Black 00564.

“As part of our commitment to accelerate closed loop manufacturing across our operations, we are always looking for advances in technology that will help to reduce waste,” said Craig Woodburn, Global Environmental Compliance Manager at JLR. “The ability to convert consumer waste into safe, quality parts for premium products through the ChemCycling process is an important step in advancing our ambition to deliver a zero-waste future.”

Storopack, a globally active supplier of protective packaging and technical molded parts, used Styropor® P Ccycled to make insulation packaging for temperature-sensitive pharmaceutical products as well as boxes for transporting fresh fish and protective packaging for electronic devices.

“We were particularly impressed by the fact that Styropor® P Ccycled can be used in food packaging. There are already various recycling options for Styropor, and ChemCycling helps raise the recycling share even further,” said Storopack’s Chairman of the Management Board, Hermann Reichenecker.

Storopack and BASF are thus forging a new path in the circular economy.

Südpack, a leading producer of film packaging in Europe, produced a polyamide film and a polyethylene film that were processed into specially sealed packaging for mozzarella. Until now, multi-layer packaging has usually been considered to be only recyclable to a limited extent.

“Film packaging must fulfill important roles: product protection, hygiene and shelf life while using a minimum amount of plastics. That is why it is made up of several materials and layers with various properties and barriers. Through innovations such as ChemCycling we come closer to solving the problems associated with recycling of flexible packaging,” said Johannes Remmele, Managing Partner of Südpack.

Schneider Electric, a leader in the digital transformation of energy management and automation, manufactured a circuit breaker from chemically recycled Ultramid®.

“We actively assess the ability of secondary raw materials, such as recycled plastics, to meet our demanding quality standards, and stringent industry regulations and norms. We rely on BASF expertise to demonstrate the end-to-end sustainability benefits while offering an appealing cost. We are hopeful this experimentation with BASF will open room for more circular innovations in Energy Management and Distribution,” said Xavier Houot, Schneider Electric’s Senior Vice President Group Environment, Safety, Real Estate.

“The pilot projects with customers from various industries show that products made with chemically recycled raw materials exhibit the same high quality and performance as products made from primary materials. ChemCycling, which uses a mass balance approach to mathematically allocate a share of the recycled material to the final product, can help our customers to achieve their sustainability goals,” said Jürgen Becky, Senior Vice President Performance Materials.

The certified products are indicated with the addition of “Ccycled” to their name. The prototypes presented at the press conference are part of the ongoing pilot phase of the ChemCycling project.

Potential for increasing share of recycled material

“With the ChemCycling project, BASF is aiming to process pyrolysis oil derived from plastic waste that currently cannot be recycled, such as mixed or contaminated plastics. If we are successful in developing the project to market readiness, ChemCycling will be an innovative complement to existing processes for recycling and recovery to solve the plastic waste problem,” said Stefan Gräter, head of the ChemCycling project at BASF.

The significant potential of chemical recycling was confirmed by the consulting firm McKinsey in a December 2018 study: If established recycling processes are combined with new ones such as chemical recycling, the experts believe that a 50% reuse and recycling rate for plastics worldwide can be reached by 2030 (today: 16%).

The share of chemical recycling could then rise from 1% currently to around 17%, which is equivalent to recycling of around 74 million metric tons of plastic waste.

Technological, economic and regulatory challenges

To move from the pilot phase to market roll-out, however, various issues will need to be resolved.

The existing technologies for transforming waste plastics into recycled raw materials must be advanced and adapted for the use at industrial scale, in order to ensure the consistently high quality of the pyrolysis oil.

BASF is currently investigating various options for supplying the company’s Production Verbund with commercial volumes of pyrolysis oil in the long term.

Besides the technical issues, economic aspects also play a role.

For chemical recycling to find acceptance in the market, regulators must also recognize the process officially as recycling.

Within this framework, they have to define how chemical recycling and mass balance approaches can be included in the calculation of recycling rates required by law.

Responsible use of resources

“Our ChemCycling project is a good example of how BASF is working with partners on solutions to the key challenges of the 21st century,” said Dr. Andreas Kicherer, sustainability expert at BASF.

Besides ChemCycling, BASF is involved in many other projects and initiatives that strengthen the idea of the circular economy and prevent plastics from entering the environment.

For example, BASF’s product portfolio includes ecovio®, a certified compostable plastic partly based on renewable raw materials. BASF is a member of the World Plastics Council and takes part in two Ellen MacArthur Foundation programs.

At all of its sites worldwide, BASF implements “Operation Clean Sweep,” an international initiative of the plastics industry aimed at preventing the loss of plastic pellets into the environment.

Furthermore, at the beginning of 2019, BASF joined forces with around 30 other companies to found the Alliance to End Plastic Waste (AEPW).

In the coming five years, this initiative wants to invest up to $1.5 billion in various projects and partnerships, mainly in Asia and Africa.

There are four main focus areas: developing infrastructure for waste collection, promoting innovative recycling methods, education and engagement of various groups and cleanup of concentrated areas of plastic waste in the environment.


K 2019 – New products from plastic waste: BASF customers showcase prototypes made from chemically recycled material


Toyota To Test Solar Panels for Electric Cars

What’s not to like about this concept: high-efficiency solar cells gifting electric cars with mileage.

Bertel Schmitt, The Drive, said, “The solar roof could morph from mostly a marketing-device to a helpful feature.” He noted that, referring to plug-ins, “On a fair-weather day, the juice would be provided by the sun, a big improvement especially for people who don’t have their own garage.”

Toyota has ambitions over the concept and is to start testing an onboard solar recharging system where the hood, the roof, and back are covered with cells. The solar roof can charge while the car is on the move.

It did not escape Interesting Engineering’s notice that the new solar battery cell can fit a larger surface. “The solar battery cell is a thin film about 0.03 mm thick. Because it is so thin, it can fit the curves of the vehicle including the roof, hood , and rear hatch door,” said the report.

Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch, said at center stage was the new and improved version of the solar power cells previously launched on the Japan-exclusive Prius PHV.

The Toyota news release said “the demo car employs a system that charges the driving battery while the vehicle is parked and also while it’s being driven.” This was seen as an interesting development expected to lead to improvements in the electric car’s cruising range and fuel efficiency.

“Previously, the Prius PHV charged the driving battery only while the vehicle was parked. However, with improvements in power generation output, the demo car employs a system that charges while the vehicle is being driven. This is expected to boost the BEV-mode cruising range and fuel efficiency significantly,” said Toyota.

NEDO, which is a national research and development organization, Sharp and Toyota are to start some road trials where the electric cars will be equipped with solar batteries. NEDO and Sharp will share a selection of trial data results, said Toyota.

Those presiding over the tests are going to see the power generation output of the solar panel. Toyota City, Aichi Prefecture, Tokyo, and other areas are the sites planned for the test, where weather and driving conditions will vary.

Etherington commented that the car’s prototype cells being able to convert solar energy at 34 percent and up was better than the existing commercial version’s numbers.

Reports noted the solar cells were extremely efficient. According to The Drive, the solar Sharp-made solar cells are of the triple-junction compound type, sporting a conversion efficiency of 34 percent, and occasionally more.

Etherington: “The new system will provide up to 44.5 km (27.7 miles) of additional range per day while parked and soaking up sun, and can add up to 56.3 km (35 miles) of power to both the driving system and the auxiliary power battery on board, which runs the AC, navigation and more.”

All in all, Elektrek offered its take on the news:

“As we always like to point out with these solar car efforts, a car’s roof is not the most ideal place to install solar cells. They would most likely be more efficient installed on the rooftop of a home and then, you can use the power to charge your vehicle. However, there’s something appealing about your vehicle producing its own energy and it is starting to get more attractive with the specs Toyota is talking about now.”


This article was published on an written by Nancy Cohen

Toyota to test solar panels for electric cars

Bosch Found Buyer For Packaging Unit

German engineering group Robert Bosch GmbH is in advanced talks to sell its packaging-technology division to global buyout firm CVC Capital Partners in a deal that could value the business at up to €850 million ($959.3 million), including debt, according to people familiar with the matter.


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Germany’s Bosch Nears Deal to Sell Packaging Unit to CVC Capital Partners


Neste to Sell its Fuel Retail to Russian PJSC Tatneft

Neste Corporation has signed an agreement to sell its fuel retail business consisting of 75 fuel stations and a terminal in St. Petersburg region to PJSC Tatneft, one of the leading integrated oil and gas companies in Russia.

The divestment has no impact on Neste’s Marketing & Services’ operations in Finland and the Baltic countries.

“Neste targets to become a global leader in renewable and circular solutions. The divestment of Russian fuel retail business will enable us to focus on our strategic priorities,” says Neste’s President and CEO Peter Vanacker.

“Over the years we have developed the operations in St. Petersburg area into a successful business with approximately 1,000 employees who are known for their outstanding customer service and commitment to high health, safety and environmental standards.

We are happy that Tatneft is keen to develop our fuel retail business in Russia further,” continues Vanacker.

“Neste has an extensive network of over 1,000 stations in Finland and in the Baltic countries. We focus on developing our solutions and services in Finland and the Baltic countries, where we can supply Neste MY Renewable Diesel and other high-quality fuels from our own refineries,” says Panu Kopra, Executive Vice President of Marketing & Services business unit.

Nail Maganov, the General Director of Tatneft, said: “Tatneft’s retail network is one of the five largest Russian chains with more than 600 own petrol stations.

The retail sales strategy focus is on the realization of high-grade fuels produced at our state-of-the-art refinery TANECO and provision of high quality service to our customers, including convenience store services (i.e., café, shops).

The acquisition of Neste’s retail business in the North Western Russia, which is one of the highest priority regions for Tatneft, is a significant contribution to the achievement of our strategic goals, including the marketing of approximately 50% of our own produced fuels domestically.

One of the key priorities in developing and operating Tatneft’s retail network is to minimize environmental impact.

Neste is one of the leaders in this field in Russia, which would allow us to expand and promote the best practices in this area throughout our operation”.

Pursuant to a separate agreement between Tatneft and Neste following the acquisition the retail network will continue to operate under the Neste brand for up to 5 years.

The parties have agreed that the transaction price shall remain confidential. The transaction will not have a material effect on Neste’s and Tatneft’s respective financial positions.

The completion of the divestment is subject to the approval of the Russian competition authorities and the transaction is estimated to be completed by the end of 2019.


Neste to divest its fuel retail business in Russia and sell it to PJSC Tatneft

The Plastics Backlash has Some Oil Giants Worried

Faced with sooner than anticipated peak demand from transportation, industry, buildings and the power sector, BP Plc, Total SA and Exxon Mobil, amongst others, are investing in factories and refineries that convert fossil fuels into plastics and chemical feedstocks–a sector that is, according to the BP Energy Outlook 2019 “the single-largest projected source of oil demand growth in the next twenty years.”

Indeed, the EIA expects U.S. demand for feedstock to increase from 40 million metric tons a year today to 60 million by 2040.

Royal Dutch Shell PLC is thought to have invested at least $6 billion in a chemical processing plant to produce ethane and polyethylene feedstocks in Western Pennsylvania. Similarly, Exxon Mobil plans to spend $20 billion over the next decade on a series of petrochemical complexes and refineries on the Gulf Coast.

Likewise, traditional crude oil producers and refiners see a bright future in chemicals and plastics.

For example, Saudi Aramco, is planning to invest some $100 billion over a decade, aiming to convert about 2-3 million barrels of crude oil per day directly into petrochemical products. Indeed, Saudi Aramco recently forked over $70 billion to acquire Sabic, a Saudi petrochemical giant, to help it become “the leader in energy and chemicals” according to Amin Nasser, Aramco CEO.

It is not just oil companies that see a future in chemicals. Oil refineries are being built to focus on chemical products rather than fuel. For example, China’s Hengli Petrochemical Co. and Rongsheng Petrochemical Co. will devote as much as half of their capacity to chemicals, mostly paraxylene, a material that China imports to make polyester and plastic bottles. That’s a sharp increase from the 10 percent chemical production at a typical refinery and as much as 20 percent at modern refineries integrated with chemical plants.

Black Swan Event?

Quite unexpectedly, the oil industry’s recent investments into increasing plastic and chemical feedstock capacity is not looking as bright, as this strategy is threatened by the worldwide consumer response to plastic polluting oceans and clogging rivers as highlighted by government discussions in Europe, India, China and some U.S. states to ban single-use plastics.

According to Paul Bjacek, a principal director at consulting firm Accenture Plc, increasing implementation of plastics recycling and plastic bans could cut petrochemical demand growth to one-third of its historical pace – to about 1.5 percent a year.

In addition, demand for fossil fuels from the chemicals industry is likely to fall as an increasing number of sustainable bio-fuels, bio-lubricants, bio-chemicals and bioplastics come on the market.

Taking advantage of the trend towards sustainability, the Italian oil company Eni SPA has invested heavily in a bio-petrochemical plant at its refinery in Porto Marghera near Venice, using vegetable oil and biomass.

As for the future

Meeting the challenge of more energy with fewer emissions has encouraged oil companies to invest in renewable energy.

The increasing focus of oil company’s refineries on the production of chemicals instead of fuel, is a direct response to the anticipated decline in demand as governments around the world mandate an end to production of new combustion engine vehicles, perhaps as soon as 2030.

In parallel, heightened public concern over pollution from plastics is encouraging the chemical industry to invest in production of bio-technologies and recyclable products and manufacturers and retailers are responding with plans to reduce plastic packaging.

If current trends continue Christof Ruehl, the former head of research for the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, foresees a 20 percent cut in oil demand and should a “war on plastics” really take off; in the process, the oil majors could be badly stung.


This article was published on

The Plastics Backlash has Some Oil Giants Worried

New Way to Produce Biodiesel from Glucose

A team of researchers from South Korea has developed a new strategy to efficiently produce fatty acids and biofuels from glucose.

In a study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, researchers from Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have shown how glucose and oleaginous microorganisms can be transformed into microbial diesel fuel, through direct fermentative production.

Developed by Professor Sang Yup Lee and his team, the new strain showed very high efficiency in producing fatty acids and biodiesel.

While biodiesel is largely produced through the transesterification of vegetable oils or animal fats, the South Korean team has engineered oleaginous microorganisms, known as Rhodococcus opacus, to produce fatty acids and their derivatives, which can be used as biodiesel, from glucose.

The researchers have previously engineered Escherichia coli to produce short-chain hydrocarbons, which can be used as gasoline (this work was published in the Nature journal in 2013).

However, the production efficiency using E. coli fell short of the levels required for commercialisation, leading the team to instead use Rhodococcus opacus as a host strain in their latest research.

They first optimised the cultivation conditions of Rhodococcus opacus to maximise the accumulation of oil (triacylglycerol), which serves as a precursor for the biosynthesis of fatty acids and their derivatives.

The team then systematically analysed the metabolism of the strain and redesigned it to enable higher levels of fatty acids, as well as two types of fatty acid-derived biodiesel to be produced.

The resulting strains have been recorded as the highest concentrations ever by microbial fermentations, and it is hoped that they will contribute to the future industrialisation of microbial-based biodiesel production.

“This technology creates fatty acids and biodiesel with high efficiency by utilising lignocellulose, one of the most abundant resources on the Earth, without depending on fossil fuels and vegetable or animal oils,” explained Professor Lee. “This will provide new opportunities for oil and petroleum industries, which have long relied on fossil fuels, to turn to sustainable and eco-friendly biotechnologies.”

The research paper, titled ‘Engineering of an oleaginous bacterium for the production of fatty acids and fuels’, was published in Nature Chemical Biology in June.


This article was published on

Researchers develop new strategy to produce biodiesel from glucose

Owner of NatureWorks Goes Into Recycling

Joint construction of a recycling plant in Thailand to be considered.

Hard, 2 July 2019 – ALPLA and PTT Global Chemical (GC) will collaborate on a feasibility study for the construction of a recycling plant in Thailand.

The companies announced the plan at the Circular Living Symposium 2019 – Upcycling Our Planet in Bangkok at the end of June.

ALPLA develops and produces innovative plastic packaging solutions worldwide and has been active in recycling for more than 25 years.

With two of its own recycling plants in Austria and Poland and joint ventures in Germany and Mexico, the plastics converter has since become a preferred partner for PET recycling.

Now, ALPLA and PTT Global Chemical (GC) are currently investigating the prospects of further activities in Thailand.

GC serves as PTT Group’s chemical flagship. The company has committed to the principles of the circular economy with the aim of always optimising the use of resources.

Examples of its commitment include the development of bioplastics as an alternative type of plastic and the implementation of effective waste management systems.

GC will work with ALPLA to conduct a study on investing in the first high‐quality circular plastic recycling plant in Thailand, including materials such as rPET and rHDPE.

We will make a decision in the third quarter of this year after reviewing the results of the study,’ said Supattanapong Punmeechaow, President and CEO of GC.

Excellent quality

The demand for recycled plastics is growing, including in Southeast Asia. ‘In particular, excellent quality of recyclates plays a big role,’ says ALPLA Regional Manager Bernd Wachter, adding: ‘We have expertise in the manufacture of food‐grade recyclates and we are experts in the processing of these materials into new packaging. Together with GC, we could implement a flagship initiative for the country and the entire region.

Ambitious targets for 2025

In 2018 ALPLA signed the Global Commitment of the New Plastics Economy, an initiative of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation together with the United Nations Environment Programme.

ALPLA set a target to expand its recycling activities, with an earmarked investment of 50 million euros. Moreover, all packaging solutions should be fully recyclable by 2025.

The volume of processed post‐consumer recycled materials is to rise to 25 per cent of total material usage.


  • Thailand is a great country and it has been pushing for economic growth in the Bio-Economy.
  • However, this decision seems to be a bit different.
  • PTT is a state-oil company. Do you think their strategic vision is very consistent?
  • Is PTT operating solo or are they controlled by the Thai Government and/or Parliament?


B10 Biodiesel To Go Mainstream in Thailand and B7 out

Malaysia isn’t the only country pushing harder for biodiesel. Thailand’s energy ministry has plans to move B10 biodiesel into the mainstream to replace the current B7 biodiesel used.

Availability of B10 as the primary diesel blend will be made from November, and B7 will be phased out at petrol stations before usage is stopped completely from November 2020, the Bangkok Post reports.

The reasons for both countries are the same – to increase the use of crude palm oil and to address environmental issues.

“The ministry is confident that B10 will become the preferred fuel by local motorists because the ministry is providing a grace period of over a year for biodiesel refineries to improve their refining processes and oil formulas; for example a monoglyceride reduction – a form of fatty acid – from 0.7% to below 0.4%. Oil traders have to prepare for B10 availability across the country for diesel-powered pickups, buses and trucks,” said energy minister Siri Jirapongphan.

Thailand is currently trialling B20 biodiesel on big trucks, public buses, express boats and agricultural machinery, but car and pick-up truck manufacturers are more apprehensive on the blend that’s heavier on methyl ester from crude palm oil.

The minister forecasts B20 consumption to increase from 70 million litres on average per month to 110 million litres in June.

The Thai government has been subsidising the B20 retail price, making it five baht cheaper than B7. The subsidy programme will expire on July 31 and the B20 price will be cheaper than B7 by three baht per litre. B20 can be bought from 900 stations across the kingdom.

Siri said that with the introduction of B10 biodiesel, the consumption of crude palm oil will reach two million tonnes annually compared to the current 1.5 million tonnes with B7.

Late last year, Malaysia launched a B10 biodiesel programme that it claimed will reduce the emission of 1.6 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per year, and boost demand for Malaysian palm oil.

“The air quality, especially in the urban areas, will also increase through the use of biodiesel with the reduced emission of dust and black smoke into the air.

The implementation of the B10 programme is apt at this time in view of the lower price of palm oil biodiesel compared to petroleum diesel,” prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad said then, adding that the programme will also help the country to achieve its low-carbon mobility objective, as outlined in the 11th Malaysia Plan.

Expect the ratio of palm oil content to increase in the future. “Malaysia needs to increase the fuel mixture in the future to strengthen domestic demand for palm oil,” Mahathir said, citing Indonesia’s B20 programme that has been running since 2016.

The PM said that the hoped that all parties will be ready to adopt B20 by year 2020.

According to the the primary industries ministry, the Malaysian Palm Oil Board (MPOB) has been carrying out field tests on diesel vehicles without encountering any problem.

The tests involved 150,000 litres of B10 biodiesel.

There was also an MPOB-DBKL test that clocked up over three million kilometres in just over three and a half years without any breakdowns.

It added that the palm oil-based biodiesel is a renewable energy produced by sustainable palm cultivation, and the use of one tonne of such biodiesel is equivalent to a reduction of three tonnes of CO2 in the air.

In Malaysia, palm oil biodiesel was initiated in 2011 with the B5 programme, before this was increased to the current B7 blend from November 2014.

Is B10 safe? We’ve written a fair bit about B10 biodiesel before, and you can learn more about the fuel with the 10% palm oil mix here. Also check out what MPOB’s biodiesel researcher, Dr Harrison Lau, has to say here.


This article was published on and written by Danny Tan

B10 biodiesel to go mainstream in Thailand – B7 out

Will EPA Kill The Small Biofuel Farmers?

President Donald Trump followed through on his promise to break down regulatory barriers at the Environmental Protection Agency and allow year-round E15 sales.

Iowa’s farmers and ethanol producers are grateful.

But the E15 rule will not make up for the damage that EPA is doing with its small refinery exemptions — particularly not for small biodiesel producers.

Over the past year, the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry has lost demand for hundreds of millions of gallons of product through the RFS loophole EPA created.

EPA has always granted RFS exemptions to a handful of small refineries every year since 2013. But in 2017, EPA began handing out these exemptions to some of the biggest, most profitable oil companies in the world.

It doesn’t seem possible that every oil company in the United States could be facing a hardship from blending biofuels, when fuel sales are climbing, and oil prices are strong.

For 2017, EPA granted RFS exemptions to 35 oil refineries. The total volume of gasoline and diesel produced by that group of oil refineries was more than 17 billion gallons.

That’s an enormous amount of fuel compared to biofuel producers. EPA set the 2017 RFS volume for all U.S. biofuel producers — ethanol, biodiesel and all other types — only at 19.1 billion gallons.

And that volume was eventually cut to 17.2 billion gallons through the exemptions.

EPA is protecting as much market space for oil refiners — excluding them from competition — as it is for biofuel producers. That’s turning the RFS program upside down.

According to University of Illinois economist Scott Irwin, if EPA continues to grant the exemptions to everyone who asks — the way it has been granting them — the demand destruction could reach 2.45 billion gallons over the next few years, with a $7.7 billion economic loss for the biodiesel and renewable diesel industry.

Biodiesel producers are tiny compared to so-called small oil refineries. Take CVR Energy, owned by wealthy investor Carl Icahn, as an example.

CVR reportedly received an exemption for its Wynnewood, Oklahoma, refinery, which refines 74,500 barrels of oil each and every day. A mid-sized biodiesel producer would refine less than an equivalent amount of vegetable oil in an entire month.

A single exemption for a small oil refinery can put a biodiesel producer out of business.

The math is simple enough. Since each barrel of oil yields a little more than 31 gallons of gasoline and diesel, a refinery the size of CVR’s produces more than 2.3 million gallons of fuel a day and over 860 million gallons each year.

The advanced biofuel RFS obligation for such a refinery this year would include close to 21 million gallons of biomass-based diesel. And there are dozens of small biodiesel producers across the country who produce less than that.

If a small biodiesel producer gets put out of business, it will impact more people than just the 20 or 30 plant workers.

Twenty million gallons of biodiesel production supports more than 600 jobs across the economy — from farmers to truck drivers.

Biodiesel producers are often the primary drivers of local economies.

According to recent news reports, the president is aware that his EPA is turning the RFS program on its head through small refinery exemptions.

He gave direction to EPA on the E15 rule and ensured it got done quickly. America’s biodiesel producers need him to take decisive action on the RFS exemptions.

Tom Brooks is general manager of Western Dubuque Biodiesel, a 30-million gallon per year facility in Farley whose investors include area soybean growers.


  • Do you think EPA policies are against the little farmer?
  • Were the policies designed by big business?
  • Is this policy really supporting US households?


This article was published on and written by Tom Brooks.

Don’t put small biodiesel out of business

New Electric cars Will Emit Noise to aid safety

New electric vehicles will have to feature a noise-emitting device, under an EU rule coming into force on Monday.

It follows concerns that low-emission cars and vans are too quiet, putting pedestrians at risk because they cannot be heard as they approach.

All new types of four-wheel electric vehicle must be fitted with the device, which sounds like a traditional engine.

A car’s acoustic vehicle alert system (Avas) must sound when reversing or travelling below 12mph (19km/h).

The EU says the cars are most likely to be near pedestrians when they are backing up or driving slowly, although drivers will have the power to deactivate the devices if they think it is necessary.

The charity Guide Dogs – which had complained it was difficult to hear low-emission cars approaching – welcomed the change, but said electric vehicles should make a sound at all speeds.

Roads minister Michael Ellis said the government wanted “the benefits of green transport to be felt by everyone” and understood the concerns of the visually impaired.

“This new requirement will give pedestrians added confidence when crossing the road,” he added.

From 2021 all new electric cars must have an Avas, not just new models.

The government has announced plans to ban new petrol and diesel cars and vans being sold by 2040.

Alternatively-fuelled vehicles made up 6.6% of the new car market in May, compared with 5.6% during the same month in 2018.


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Collaboration is key to Solving Black Plastic Recycling Challenge

Plastics Recycling Charity, RECOUP, have been leading a cross-industry forum to address the barriers and improve the recycling of black plastic packaging.

A new published report provides the latest position and the progress which has been made since the forum was set up at the end of 2017. It represents genuine and open collaboration from RECOUP members across the plastic packaging supply and recycling chain.

It was clear from the Forum’s inception that while pressure was growing, research and developments so far had not led to any practical improvements in the recyclability of black plastic.

It was accepted by all concerned that to do nothing was not an option and a variety of solutions were explored. The need for recyclability was further recognised through recent DEFRA consultations with the expectation that unrecyclable packaging placed on the market could be subject to higher taxes in future years when compared to recyclable items.

The forum focused on the sorting and reprocessing of black and other undetectable coloured plastic packaging. The work established that there are a number of solutions either available or in development including use of transparent packaging or alternative detectable colours, use of detectable black pigments, and development of sorting technology for the existing carbon black packaging.

Stuart Foster, RECOUP chief executive commented: “Despite the inevitable politics and positioning behind issues such as black plastic packaging recycling, our role at RECOUP is to bring the various groups and stakeholders together to make practical steps forward.

I hope we have helped to avoid knee jerk reactions to the challenge of improving plastic recycling potential, and instead have turned ambitions and collaborative thinking into actual long term solutions.”

The report highlights a range of ongoing individual and collective actions, which is expected to cut the undetectable black packaging coming into the market by 2/3 by the end 2019.

Given one solution is detectable black pigment, it also appears that specifically excluding or highlighting black packaging as a problem colour will no longer be valid.

Paul East, RECOUP packaging technologist and project leader added: “We appreciate it can take time to deliver the changes needed to improve recyclability, but there is no reason why all plastic packaging can’t adopt the basic principle that it must not inhibit the sorting or recycling process, as part of the design specifications. As shown in the new report, removing or coming out of black in favour of a transparent pack or detectable colour has been seen as the quickest solution in many cases, and therefore most popular.

To balance this, the report also includes the potentially important role of black and darker plastic as a base colour as we move towards the requirement for greater recycled content.”

Although some of the work is still ongoing, the report provides an overview of the options, including details of a range of independent projects undertaken in 2019.

The full report is available to download on the RECOUP website This and many other hot topics will be discussed and debated at the next RECOUP Plastics Recycling Conference which will be held at KingsGate Conference Centre, Peterborough on 26 September.


Collaboration is key to solving black plastic recycling challenge

Chemical Recycling Will Make Australia Plastic Neutral

Imagine a technology that could soon make Timor-Leste the first plastic neutral economy in the world. A breakthrough technology that turns plastics back into oil is now commercially viable, with the potential for 80 plants throughout Australia and work under way in the UK and Canada.

According to the chief executive officer of Licella, Dr Len Humphreys, the tools for a “truly circular economy” are now available.

Humphreys has spent several years working alongside Professor Thomas Maschmeyer to bring their chemical recycling technology to the point of commercialisation.

Licella owns the patented rights of the Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (or Cat-HTR) platform developed by the duo, which is capable of chemically recycling end-of-life plastics (including plastic currently deemed non-recyclable) and other materials back into oils (where the plastics came from originally), using water as the change agent.

This synthetic oil can be used to produce new plastic, fuels and chemicals – reducing waste and creating a new source of revenue.

The technology could soon help the Timor-Leste become the first plastic neutral economy in the world.

In May this year, the government of Australia’s near neighbour signed a memorandum of understanding at the University of Sydney with Mura Technology (a joint venture between Licella Holdings and UK renewables investors Armstrong Energy) for the development of a $US40 million chemical recycling plant.

There’s huge potential for the technology

Humphreys says there’s huge potential for the technology, with the opportunity to build as many as 80 plants in Australia.

He says the chemical recycling technology is also generating “huge amounts of global interest.”

The first commercial CAT HTR plant for end of life plastics is under development in Wilton in the UK by RENEW ELP, backed by renewable investors Armstrong Energy.

In Canada, the company has teamed up with pulp and paper producer Canfor Pulp to integrate the technology platform into mills to produce biofuels from residue streams.

Humphreys says the company has “all the foundations laid to grow nationally and internationally – helped along by Timor Leste going plastic neutral.”

Traditional plastic recycling fails to capture much of the value of the material

Many plastics are typically not recycled using existing practices, and most end up in landfill, oceans or are incinerated “at great expense”.

“And once you’ve recycled a plastic bottle two or three times, that plastic starts to degrade,” Humphreys says.

“As it degrades, it can no longer be physically recycled.

“What we can do is, we can chemically recycle that back into oil to be made into new plastics – the next generation of plastic bottles.”

We don’t need to be scared of fossil oil – there’s nothing wrong with plastics… the problem is we throw it all away

This cycle can continue endlessly and is therefore a “true circular economy.”

“We don’t need to be scared of fossil oil – there’s nothing wrong with plastics… the problem is we throw it all away,” Humphreys says.

“So we just need to look at it in a different way – it’s a resource and something we can use again and again.”

Framed as a “bridging technology to a lower carbon future”, the technology is capable of creating a renewable biocrude with over 80 per cent carbon intensity reduction.

A hard slog to get there but now things are heating up for Licella

It wasn’t an overnight success story, Humphreys told The Fifth Estate. It’s taken $75 million and over a decade to bring the technology to the point it’s at today.

“We’ve ironed all the hiccups out and are now commercialising it.”

iQRenew was set up by the company to operate Material Recovery Facilities in Australia, combining the chemical recycling technology alongside physical recycling in the one plant so that 100 per cent of plastics can be captured and recycled.

The company started out in 2017 by building a demonstration plant at Somersby, on the NSW Central Coast, which was supported by a $1 million grant from the federal government to accelerate its commercialisation.

Since then interest in the technology has exploded.

In Australia he says there’s also pressure to improve recycling capabilities.

“Now that China is saying no [to most overseas recyclables], we’re now having to invest and change our habits to do tertiary and secondary recycling.”

How the chemical processing technology works

The Cat-HTR process uses water at high pressure and high temperature to cause chemical transformations.

The chemical process unzips polymers and converts them back to the chemicals in which they came, including liquids such as waxes, diesel and petrol and gases such as ethylene (a raw ingredient to make new plastics).

There are already other ways to convert plastics into oil, including pyrolysis, but this process is more stable and requires significantly less energy for a higher yield.

It also takes just 20 minutes, and there’s no repolymerisation, so the new products don’t become solid again.

Cat HTR does not require external hydrogen, which is important according to Professor Thomas Maschmeyer. Instead, hydrogen is taken from the water and moved into the products, saving a “huge amount of cost, complexity, and greenhouse gas emissions.”

The technology has the potential to bring down landfill costs for waste producers. Valuable products are created form waste products, and customers can then buy recycled oil at prices comparable to virgin oil.

Water is also recycled during the process, resulting in a “closed loop of recycled water”.


This article was published on and written by Poppy Johnston

The chemical recycling technology that might unlock a plastic neutral Australia

Lightyear One debuts as the first long-range solar-powered electric car

lectric cars are better for the environment than fossil fuel-burning vehicles, but they still rely on the grid, which can be variously dirty or clean depending on what sources it uses for its energy. The new Lightyear One is a prototype vehicle that would improve that by collecting the power it needs to run from the sun.

Lightyear, a startup from the Netherlands born as Stella, has come a long way since it won a Crunchie award in 2015, with a vehicle that now looks ready for the road. The Lightyear One prototype vehicle unveiled today has a sleek, driver-friendly design and also boasts a range of 450 miles on a single charge – definitely a first for a car powered by solar and intended for the actual consumer market.

The startup says that it has already sold “over a hundred vehicles” even though this isn’t yet ready to hit the road, but Lightyear is aiming to begin production by 2021, with reservations available for 500 additional units for the initial release. You do have to pay €119,000 up front (around $136,000 USD) to secure a reservation, however.

Lightyear One isn’t just a plug-in electric with some solar sells on the roof: Instead it’s designed from the ground up to maximize performance from a smaller-than-typical battery that can directly grab sun from a roof and hood covered with 16 square feet of solar cells, embedded in safety glass designed with passenger wellbeing in mind. The car can also take power directly from regular outlets and existing charging stations for a quick top-up, and again because it’s optimized to be lightweight and power efficient, you can actually get around 250 miles on just one night of charging from a standard (European) 230V outlet.

enter production, however, and even when it does it’ll be a fairly expensive and small batch product, at least at first. But it’s an impressive feat nonetheless, and a potential new direction for EVs of the future.


Lightyear One debuts as the first long-range solar-powered electric car

Why Reusable Food Packaging Has a Promising Future

Consumers are looking for both convenience and sustainability, and companies are responding with containers, bottles and bags designed for many uses.

Packaging is one of the largest causes of waste in the United States. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 29.7% of total waste could be attributed to containers and packaging in 2015, which weighed in at 77.9 million tons.

While some may point the finger at plastics, Tim Debus, president and CEO of the Reusable Packaging Association, told Food Dive that “the real root evil of the pollution is not material based. It’s disposability.”

Since the introduction of plastics into the CPG space, explained Debus, manufacturers have opted for more and more single-use packaging for its ability to reduce shipping costs.

Single-use plastic packaging is also an option that promotes convenience, something that consumers have progressively wanted more of over the decades.

All of this, however, comes at the expense of sustainability.

Demand for conveniently packaged options continues today, but consumers have increasing sustainability concerns. As a result, retailers and manufacturers have spent years searching for alternatives that reduce the quantity of waste sent to landfills.

From minimizing the amount of glass used in each bottle to switching to compostable bioplastic, packaging innovations are nothing new. What is new is the desire to combine sustainability with reusability.

“When you give the average person the choice between the most convenient option and the most sustainable options, more often than not, the more convenient option wins.”Toni Rossi, Vice president of global business development, Loop

Loop is an online delivery service where customers select their products and pay for the order (including a fully-refundable deposit on the reusable jars) and wait for it to be delivered in a reusable tote. Shipping is free after seven items are ordered. When the product is used up, customers replace the jars in the tote and wait for UPS to pick up their used containers and deliver their replacement order.

In searching for an innovative method to provide consumers with sustainable yet convenient packaging options, companies including Tyme Fast Food and TerraCycle’s Loop program, as well as retailers including PCC Community Markets have reimagined packaging as something reusable rather than disposable.

Reusable containers benefit the planet and companies’ bottom lines. The World Economic Forum reports plastic packaging waste represents an annual loss to the global economy of $80 billion to $120 billion.

Reusable options not only help alleviate that cost burden, but consumers are also willing to pay more to help solve the sustainability problem.

A new consumer culture?

A report from Packaged Facts shows households headed by adults younger than 25 are 29% more likely to consume microwaveable dinners and 26% more apt to eat frozen breakfast entrees or sandwiches.

Millennials, according to a report by UBS Investment Bank, are expected to drive food delivery sales up from $35 billion in 2018 to $365 billion worldwide in 2030.

Consumers’ preference for convenience has generated tons of trash as pre-packaged and delivery options become the norm. At the same time, these consumers don’t want to create waste.

To solve this dilemma, companies including Procter & Gamble, Nestlé, PepsiCo, Unilever and The Body Shop have signed onto initiatives that make reusable packaging convenient.

“When you give the average person the choice between the most convenient option and the most sustainable options, more often than not, the more convenient option wins,” Loop’s vice president of global business development Toni Rossi told Food Dive.

Rather than combat human nature and work to convince consumers that a little sacrifice now will pay off in the long run, Loop plays into the consumer search for an “easy” button, Rossi said.

“It’s a model of reusability, but it acts like single use. We’re not asking the consumer to do anything different than they would today,” he said.


This article was published on and written by Jessi Devenyns

Why reusable food packaging has a promising future

Glennmont Starts Welsh Bio Operations

Glennmont Partners has started commercial operations at its Margam Green Energy Plant near Port Talbot in south Wales.

The £160m biomass energy plant directly employs 25 people and is fuelled by waste wood that will generate power for up to 75,000 homes.

A consortium of Babcock and Wilcox Volund and Interserve Construction developed and built Margam and has now formally handed the project over to Glennmont Partners.

Construction started in 2016, employing over 400 people a peak times.

Babcock and Wilcox Volund and Interserve worked in partnership with a large number of sub-contractors from Wales and other parts of the UK and continental Europe.

The construction management of the power station was led by the Cardiff energy company Eco2.

Babcock and Wilcox has operational and maintenance responsibility for the power plant while Eco2 now has management responsibility for Margam’s commercial operation as well as responsibility for Margam’s waste wood fuel logistics.

Glennmont partner Peter Dickson said: “Glennmont has appreciated the hard work of everyone to complete Margam’s construction: the efforts of B&W, Interserve, Eco2 and in particular the commitment shown by so many individual workers on site.”


Glennmont starts Welsh bio operations


Indian Automobile Market Set to Go Green with Electric Vehicles

Kia motors is thinking of launching low cost electric vehicles in India next year as Indian automobile market is gearing up for the launch of a slew of EVs this year.

Electric vehicles are set to change the Indian automobile market in 2019-2020. These vehicles are fuel free, clean and environment friendly as compared to petrol and diesel ones. Indian automobile industry has been reeling under the lack of any long range electric vehicles. In a bid to boost electric car adoption in India, the government has proposed waiving off road tax on electric vehicles in India.

Kia Motors has announced that it is considering launching a low cost electric vehicle for India in collaboration with Hyundai Motors. Currently the cost of electric vehicles is very high for Indian Market so they want personal usage for EVs to be included in FAME 2 scheme in India. Indian automobile market is getting ready for a slew of other electric vehicles set to launch in 2019 and 2020. Here are the most anticipated electric vehicles set to launch soon.

Hyundai Kona

Hyundai Motors is going to launch Kona Electric in India on 9th July 2019. It will be the first long range electric vehicle to be sold in India. It offers options for fast charging along with powered driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, cruise control and a host of other features. It is priced between Rs 20 to 25 lakhs and is available in two versions based on battery pack.


MG EZS will be their first all electric SUV in India. It’s expected to launch in December 2019 as rival to Hyundai Kona. It will be imported as completely built unit and is expected to cost nearly 25 lakhs. It is expected to have iSmart connected tech such as remote engine start, remote AC control, over the air updates, geofencing and more.

Maruti Wagon R EV

Maruti Suzuki recently announced its plan to launch electric vehicles in India by 2020. It will be launched at Rs 7 lakh price range. This price would include the subsidies that have rolled-out to all electric and hybrid vehicles under the FAME or Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Hybrid and Electric vehicles scheme. The new electric vehicle is expected to be spacious and have different design.

Mahindra EKUV100

Mahindra is the frontrunner in the budding electric vehicle market in India. It is expected to go on sale in India by mid 2019. It is priced around Rs 8- 10 lakh. Technical details are not fully available but it is claimed to have range of 140km with fast charging in just an hour.

TATA Altroz EV

The TATA Altroz was revealed at 2019 Geneva International Motor show and revealed some swanky features like front grille without vents and a flat floor that increases cabin space. The electric vehicle is expected to launch after April 2020. It is priced around 14 lakh.

The cost for electric vehicles is very high in India. As a country we lack proper infrastructure and need government policy to make it affordable. We need government support to ease out the policies especially for long range vehicles. Globally electric vehicles are evolving the automobile market and Indian cities are in dire need of fuel free vehicles.


This article was published on and written by Nazreen Nazir

Indian Automobile Market Set to Go Green with Electric Vehicles

MPs Debate Call for Ban on Non-Recyclable Packaging

The public has “woken up” and is ready to do more to cut plastic pollution, MPs have been told.

They were debating a petition, signed by almost 250,000 people, urging the government to ban all non-recyclable food packaging.

Opening, Daniel Zeichner, MP for Cambridge, said mishandling of plastic waste was leading to a “public health emergency” in poorer countries.

The environment minister said he wanted to “help people make the right choice”.

It is estimated the UK uses five million tonnes of plastic every year – nearly half of which is packaging – and demand is rising.

The petition lists just some of the packaging it would like to see abolished, including cereal box inner bags, plastic fruit and vegetable packets, crisp packets, sweets wrappers and Styrofoam.

It states: “Today the Earth is at a crisis point due to our plastic consumption, and as a result, people in the UK are more willing than ever to engage in recycling.

“So much food packaging remains completely, frustratingly unrecyclable. Let’s aim for the UK to lead the world with a 100% recycling rate.”

Plastic waste often does not decompose and can last for centuries in landfill. Other items end up as litter in the natural environment, which in turn can pollute soils, rivers and oceans, and harm the creatures that inhabit them.

Mr Zeichner told Westminster Hall: “We have woken up. There is genuine public recognition of the climate crisis and real concern over the natural destruction caused by non-recyclable waste.”

He said evidence showed plastic waste led to disease and death in developing countries, and in the eyes of some charities now constituted a public health emergency.

“Buying food without throwaway packaging is becoming increasingly popular,” he continued.

“At the start of the month Waitrose launched the new ‘unpacked’ model with a dedicated refillable zone of products including cereal, pasta and fish.

“The reaction to the trial was 97% positive on social media.”

Robert Goodwill, minister for agriculture, fisheries and food, said the issue was one of “great concern” and the number of signatories was testament to the depth of feeling among the public.

“The government shares the public’s concerns and has set out ambitious plans to tackle the problem,” he said, but stressed that some materials were harder to recycle than others.

“I should stress we have no plans to ban the use of food packaging that cannot be recycled. Most food packaging is technically recyclable, though the current market does not make all recycling economically viable.

“Our general approach is to help people and companies make the right choice and develop alternatives, rather than move to banning items outright.”

As well as government-led initiatives, the minister said “consumer-driven progress” – for example, the growth in reusable coffee cups – was an important factor too.

However, there have been instances – as with plastic straws and microbeads – where a wholesale ban was appropriate.

Mr Goodwill said the government had been consulting on proposals to incentivise producers to make more sustainable packaging design choices.

Mr Zeichner thanked the minister for his reply, but took issue with the idea that Labour and the government were in the same place on the issue.

The former would be “much more interventionist”, he added.

Plastic tax

The government has said its Resources and Waste Strategy for England, published in December, sets out plans to reduce plastic pollution and a move towards a more circular economy.

It builds on commitments made in the 25-Year Environment Plan to eliminate all avoidable plastic waste.

In a bid to limit ocean pollution, the government will introduce new controls on single use plastic items in England by April 2020.

The measures cover plastic straws, plastic drinks stirrers and plastic cotton buds.

Earlier this year, Chancellor Philip Hammond also asked for views on the potential benefits of a plastics tax.

Takeaway boxes, disposable cups, plastic wrap and cigarette filters are some of the items he is consulting on.

The idea is that putting tax on single-use plastics would help drive behavioural change, and stop plastic littering streets, countryside and coastline.

Other countries including Canada and Ireland have already promised to take tougher action.


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MPs debate call for ban on non-recyclable packaging

IEA Bioenergy Report on Bioenergy Supply Chains

IEA Bioenergy is an organisation set up in 1978 by the International Energy Agency (IEA) with the aim of improving cooperation and information exchange between countries that have national programmes in bioenergy research, development and deployment.

Several systems to define and monitor performance and progress towards sustainability of bioenergy have been developed for implementation at different scales, including operations, landscapes or jurisdictions.

Some are formalised systems (e.g. GBEP 2011; RSB 2016; ISO 2015; ASTM 2016; SBP 2019) while others are inputs made through the scientific literature (McBride et al. 2012; Dale et al. 2015; Lattimore et al. 2009; Mead & Smith 2012).

Even if much has been achieved, there are still challenges associated with understanding, defining, measuring, and governing and communicating sustainability of bioenergy (IEA Roadmap 2017).

This has led to very different perceptions of sustainability of bioenergy in society, with a pronounced lack of trust in potential benefit within some groups (Mai-Moulin et al. 2019).

In light of these challenges, the IEA Bioenergy inter-Task project on “Measuring, governing and gaining support for sustainable bioenergy supply chains” was formed to synthesise works of a number of IEA Bioenergy Tasks, including Task 37, 38, 39, 40, 42 and 43.

The project aimed at addressing the following questions:

  1. Objective 1: How to measure and quantify progress towards more sustainable practices?
  2. Objective 2: How to improve the input, output and throughput legitimacy of existing and proposed governance systems?
  3. Objective 3: How to engage more successfully with the broad range of stakeholders so that policies and sustainability governance are perceived as legitimate and helpful for build-up of social capital, trust, and support among all stakeholders?

The project was started in 2016 and completed by the end of 2018. A multitude of studies were initiated focusing largely on the agricultural and forestry sectors, and on biogas systems.

An overall summary of the project and the summaries of the work done under the three objectives have been published in June 2019.


Australian Trains Will Use Rail Sleepers Made From Plastic Waste

Trains travelling through Melbourne will run on railway sleepers made from recycled plastic as part of an 18-month trial.

The “Duratrack” sleepers are made from a mix of polystyrene and agricultural waste, including cotton bale wrap and vineyard covers from across Australia.

The 200 recycled sleepers, installed near Richmond station on Monday, have a potential lifespan of 50 years, are half the cost of traditional timber sleepers and require less maintenance, the state government said on Monday.


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Vic trains to use recycled rail sleepers