The circular economy has been touted as the end-goal by the European chemical industry in past year. But what remains a mystery is the billion-dollar; where does it actually stand and what is the commercial viability given current status of technologies and developments. Global leaders in the chemical industry presented their opinions on the current status and answering the given question.
As the leaders presented their views in IdentiPlast, two strikingly different positions came out with optimism of BASF and INEOS Styrolution on one side and caution of other players on the other. While BASF and INEOS Styrolution mentioned that the circular economy stands at different stage ranging from research & development to pilot testing phase across the value chains. They suggested the technology of breaking down of waste to reconstitute the primary material remains ‘missing link’ in the circular economy and it is expected to be matured by another 5-10 years.
On the other hand, Hayward-Higham, Technical Development Director–Suez, had different opinion and was almost certain about missing the 2020 and 2025 deadlines. He was hopeful of catching 2030 deadlines, for at least some of the technologies. He explained that the technological development at current scenario might take 5-10 year, which again would need another similar period to install plants to run on these technologies, adding the missing links. Thus, overall time for industrial level circular economy might take more than 10 years with CO2 to polymer technology even far down the line. According to Ann Dierckx, Director CEFIC, the CO2 to polymer technology is still 20 to 30 years away from becoming the mainstream for industry feedstock.
– Ankur Kalra
Manager – Chemicals & Materials