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WPC 2023: Nova Chemicals sets target of 30% of sales from recycled content by 2030


$2 bil-$4 bil investment to expand sustainable products by 2030

Rokeby PE expansion on track for second quarter startup

  • Author
  • Rob Westervelt at Chemical Week
  • Editor
  • Benjamin Morse
  • Commodity
  • Energy Transition Petrochemicals

Alberta, Canada-based Nova Chemicals will invest $2 billion-$4 billion by 2030 to expand sustainable product offerings and has set a goal of achieving 30% of polyethylene (PE) sales from recycled content. It is also targeting a 30% reduction in Scope 1 and 2 absolute carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by 2030.

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Nova plans to build a world scale mechanical recycling business and is evaluating advanced recycling technologies to create recyclable and low-carbon plastics.

"We are working on both the mechanical recycling and chemical recycling side of the equation," Rocky Vermani, Nova Chemicals senior vice president, supply chain and innovation, said during a March 22 interview at the World Petrochemical Conference by S&P Global in Houston.

"We're big proponents of mechanical recycling," Vermani said, noting that in North America, the approach to mechanical recycling has so far been relatively unsophisticated. "When you bring in large resin producers, who have the capability to build and scale, that will change the equation. We believe we've got something to bring to the table here."

Chemical recycling will also play a role, he said.

"There are a lot of technologies [in advanced recycling] that are still evolving," Vermani adds. "The field is wide open and we're excited about innovations that we are seeing."

The company last month launched Nova Circular Solutions, including its Syndigo line of recycled PE (rPE).

The company will decarbonize its asset base through energy efficiencies, electrification, and renewable power, and is exploring clean hydrogen as a fuel source. It is also evaluating carbon capture, utilization, and storage (CCUS). The company today announced its first virtual purchase agreement (VPPA) with Shell Energy for renewable power.

New process technologies are also being explored to abate and eliminate emissions. Nova is exploring development of a proprietary low-emissions ethylene technology based on a catalytic process, Vermani added.

Rokeby PE ready for start

Nova is also nearing the startup of a new, 450,000-mt/year linear low-density polyethylene (LLDPE) unit at its Rokeby site in St. Clair Township, Ontario.

"Startup is imminent," Vermani said. "Our expectation is that within the first half of the year, call it June, we'll be able to bring the plant on."

The plant is based on Nova's Advanced Sclairtech process, which brings performance improvements and attributes that will make the resin easier to recycle, Vermani added. Feedstock ethylene will be supplied by its cracker at Corunna, Ontario, which saw ethylene capacity increase last year by about 50%, to 1.2 million mt/year.