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Advancing the energy transition

BP Infinia – enabling circularity for unrecyclable PET plastic waste

“BP is committed to fully developing and commercializing this technology. We have long experience and a proven track record of scaling technology and we firmly believe that this innovation can ultimately contribute to making all types of polyester waste infinitely recyclable.”
 

Charles Damianides, vice president of petrochemicals technology, licensing and business development

Graphic of plastic coloured bottles
BP Infinia

BP has developed an enhanced recycling technology, BP Infinia, that enables currently unrecyclable PET plastic waste – such as black food trays and coloured bottles –to be diverted from landfill or incineration and instead transformed back into new, virgin-quality feedstocks. 

The new feedstocks are interchangeable with those made from traditional hydrocarbon sources and can be used to make new PET packaging that may be recycled again and again.

BP Infinia is complimentary to mechanical recycling, dealing with PET waste that is currently difficult or impossible to process using mechanical methods.

BP’s new pilot plant, located at its research and development hub in Naperville, Illinois, is expected to be operational in late 2020 to prove the technology on a continuous basis. BP sees the potential to develop multiple full-scale commercial plants using this technology around the world. If deployed at scale in a number of facilities, BP estimates that the technology has the potential to prevent billions of PET bottles and trays from ending up in landfill or incineration every year.¹

1Production of recycled PTA, from various facilities, at the scale of one existing PTA plant (more than 1 million tonnes), would require feedstock totalling many millions of tonnes of opaque and difficult-to-recycle PET packaging. Based on the average weight (from 10 to 30 grammes) of specific packaging types suitable for this technology, this feedstock would equate to billions of packaging items.
The world’s rising demand for energy is a real opportunity to expand our business and deliver higher returns for our investors. But as we grow, our net operational emissions won’t – and we will help others to curb their emissions
We will deliver this commitment by reducing emissions in our operations, improving our products and services, and creating low carbon businesses. This is just the latest step in our 20-plus year journey – but a significant one and one we plan to build on in the years to come. At BP Petrochemicals, we are proud to be part of this process.

Advancing Low Carbon accreditation programme

BP’s Advancing Low Carbon accreditation programme is specifically designed to encourage every part of BP to pursue lower carbon opportunities. Activities are only included within the programme if we are satisfied that they make a difference and deliver a better carbon outcome. This can be, for example, through emissions savings or offsetting the carbon they produce, through demonstrating exciting new technologies, or through supporting partnerships and initiatives that aim to advance research or drive action on low carbon across the industry.

BP Petrochemicals and the programme
BP Petrochemicals has been delighted to achieve accreditation in the first two years of the programme for the following:
Acetic anhydride
Acetic anhydride is used in the production of cellulose acetate for textile fibres and plastics/film/coatings. We produce acetic anhydride at our plant in Hull in the United Kingdom using a more energy efficient carbonylation process.
PTAirTM (1)

Purified terephthalic acid (PTA) is a raw material used in making high-performance multi-purpose plastics for packaging, clothing and industrial fibre products. PTAir offers customers in the polyester value chain the opportunity to purchase lower carbon feedstock.
 

1. PTAirTM is a trade mark of BP p.l.c.
 
 
PTAir Neutral
PTAir Neutral offers customers the opportunity to purchase a carbon neutral product with net zero carbon emissions. Carbon neutrality is accomplished through BP Target Neutral, which invests in various carbon emission reduction projects located around the world. 
Tricoya Technologies
BP Ventures has invested in Tricoya Technologies Limited. Its acetylation process, initially developed for the production of Accoya®, a solid acetylated wood, has benefits including the production of sustainable wood products that exhibit superior dimensional stability (less shrink and swell) and durability (rot resistance) compared with other products. The first commercial scale production facility is under construction, adjacent to BP’s chemicals manufacturing facility in Hull, which will also supply the acetic anhydride for the acetylation process.