Houston energy company buys in on plastic recycling
Dutch chemical company LyondellBasell, whose U.S. headquarters is in Houston, has purchased a 25 percent stake in a joint venture that seeks to accelerate advancements in plastic recycling.
The joint venture, Cyclyx International, was formed in 2020 by Spring-based energy giant ExxonMobil and Tigard, Oregon-based plastic recycling innovator Agilyx.
In 2022, Cyclyx announced it had inked a deal with ExxonMobil and LyondellBasell to develop a first-of-its-kind plastic waste sorting and processing plant in the Houston area. The estimated $100 million facility, set to open in 2024, is poised to annually produce 330 million pounds of plastic feedstock, which is made up of recycled materials that can be used to manufacture new plastics.
“Investing in plastic waste value chain experts such as Cyclyx, together with Agilyx and ExxonMobil, helps create the robust supply chains we all need to increase access to circular and renewable feedstocks,” Yvonne van der Laan, executive vice president of LyondellBasell, says in a news release.
In conjunction with the LyondellBasell announcement, Cyclyx says it’s expanding the licensing-only model for its recycling centers to add a “build, own, and operate” option. Cyclyx says this shift will enable it to control custom-blended feedstocks from sourcing through delivery.
Last year, Cyclyx revealed it had completed a pilot project for grocery store chain Food Lion.
At the outset of the project, plastic waste at certain Food Lion stores was collected for recycling. Cyclyx then sorted and pre-processed the waste before sending it to ExxonMobil’s recycling facility in Baytown. In Baytown, ExxonMobil used its Exxtend technology for advanced recycling to create new “virgin quality” plastics and other products.
ExxonMobil says the Baytown facility, which began operating in 2021, can process more than 80 million pounds of plastic waste per year. The company says the Exxtend technology it uses there breaks down hard-to-recycle plastic waste — such as synthetic athletic fields, bubble wrap, and motor oil bottles — that previously would have headed to landfills.