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Shell Chemicals Park Moerdijk accelerates transition to become net zero emissions and more sustainable chemicals

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Shell Chemicals Park Moerdijk, a subsidiary of Shell plc, today announced a new investment that supports its plan to transition the chemicals park into a site able to serve the changing needs of our customers. Customers want more low-carbon products and products made using recycled material. Shell Moerdijk will build a new pyrolysis oil upgrader unit that improves the quality of pyrolysis oil, a liquid made from hard-to-recycle plastic waste, and turns it into chemical feedstock for its plants. The investment marks a first major step in transitioning the park within ten years by increasing the use of circular and bio-based feedstocks, growing its offer of low-carbon products and becoming net-zero emissions through the application of hydrogen and CCS.

To achieve these ambitions, Shell intends to invest billions in Shell Moerdijk’s chemical complex over the next decade, subject to investment decisions and within existing capital allocation frameworks.

“As our customers demand more low-carbon and circular chemicals we are seeing the reinvention of the chemical industry. At Shell Moerdijk and across our global chemicals business, Shell is investing to be ready to meet our customers’ needs as they change. We are working together to deliver on shared decarbonisation and sustainability goals,” said Robin Mooldijk, Executive Vice President, Shell Chemicals and Products. “This pyrolysis oil upgrader investment is part of our commitment to developing the chemical recycling industry, which can turn hard to recycle plastics into new and useful products, helping society tackle the key issue of plastic waste.”

The new pyrolysis oil upgrader unit treats liquid made from plastic waste that cannot be mechanically recycled and would otherwise be incinerated. Expected to start production in 2024, the unit will have a capacity of 50,000 tonnes per annum, which is the equivalent to the weight of about 7.8 billion plastic bags; and supports Shell’s ambition to recycle one million tonnes of plastic waste in its chemicals plants by 2025. Shell will use the treated pyrolysis oil to produce circular chemicals which are the ingredients used in many end products that are all around us. The investment responds to growing customer demand.

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“Shell Chemicals Park Moerdijk wants to accelerate the energy transition, be a leader in the transformation of the Dutch chemical industry and grow by making more circular, low-carbon products for our customers and society. This comes with three major goals: net zero emissions within ten years, increasing the use of circular and bio-based feedstocks and doubling the number of chemical products by investing in new product lines,” says Richard Zwinkels, general manager of Shell Chemical Park Moerdijk.

Richard Zwinkels continues: “We will have to be an active local partner, cooperate with governments and authorities and integrate with other businesses such as start-ups to increase the potential for sustainability improvements. We will open up to the outside world like businesses and universities by, for example, facilitating scientific research on our site.”

An important step to achieve net zero by 2032 is hydrogen. Shell Chemicals Park Moerdijk is developing plans, pending final investment decisions, to build a facility that will produce hydrogen from the residual gases from the Park’s production process. Shell will use this hydrogen to heat the industrial furnaces. The aim is to capture and store the CO2, a residue in the process of making hydrogen, in old gas fields under the seabed.

In addition to the use of circular pyrolysis oil, bio-based feedstocks can be used. In 2021, Shell decided to invest in the construction of a biofuels facility at Shell Energy and Chemicals Park Rotterdam. The biofuels facility is currently being built and is expected to start production in 2024.

Shell looks at doubling the number of plants at Shell Chemicals Park Moerdijk in the coming decade, subject to investment decisions. The expansion will support the introduction of a number of new products with a lower carbon footprint, while meeting society’s increasing demand for these.

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