reduce, reuse, recycle

TotalEnergies shares big circular economy win at Texas plant

TotalEnergies has announced its Texas plant can produce sustainably certified polymers for a wide range of purposes. Photo via totalenergies.com

For the first time in the United States, a global energy company has converted plastic waste into circular polymers.

TotalEnergies announced its milestone that took place at its polypropylene plant in La Porte, Texas. The plant, according to the company, will produce sustainably certified polymers for a wide range of purposes, including food grade packaging.

"After Europe, this first production of circular polymers from advanced recycling in the United States is a new step forward in our commitment to meeting the global market's growing demand for more innovative and sustainable plastics, as well as in our ambition to produce one million tons of circular polymers a year by 2030," Heather Tomas, Vice President Polymers Americas, says in the news release.

New Hope Energy's recycling facility in Tyler, Texas, provided the feedstock, which was converted into monomers at BASF TotalEnergies Petrochemicals facility in Port Arthur, Texas. BTP is a joint venture between BASF and TotalEnergies.

"We are excited to partner with TotalEnergies in our mutual effort to transform plastic for a cleaner world," Rusty Combs, CEO of New Hope Energy, says in the release. "This supply agreement is an important step towards achieving New Hope's goal of creating pyrolysis projects at a scale that will materially improve the nation's plastic recycling performance. We are honored by the confidence TotalEnergies has placed in both our team and our robust technology."

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A View From HETI

Houston could have ranked higher on a global report of top cities in the world if it had a bit more business diversification. Photo via Getty Images

A new analysis positions the Energy Capital of the World as an economic dynamo, albeit a flawed one.

The recently released Oxford Economics Global Cities Index, which assesses the strengths and weaknesses of the world’s 1,000 largest cities, puts Houston at No. 25.

Houston ranks well for economics (No. 15) and human capital (No. 18), but ranks poorly for governance (No. 184), environment (No. 271), and quality of life (No. 298).

New York City appears at No. 1 on the index, followed by London; San Jose, California; Tokyo; and Paris. Dallas lands at No. 18 and Austin at No. 39.

In its Global Cities Index report, Oxford Economics says Houston’s status as “an international and vertically integrated hub for the oil and gas sector makes it an economic powerhouse. Most aspects of the industry — downstream, midstream, and upstream — are managed from here, including the major fuel refining and petrochemicals sectors.”

“And although the city has notable aerospace and logistics sectors and has diversified into other areas such as biomedical research and tech, its fortunes remain very much tied to oil and gas,” the report adds. “As such, its economic stability and growth lag other leading cities in the index.”

The report points out that Houston ranks highly in the human capital category thanks to the large number of corporate headquarters in the region. The Houston area is home to the headquarters of 26 Fortune 500 companies, including ExxonMobil, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, and Sysco.

Another contributor to Houston’s human capital ranking, the report says, is the presence of Rice University, the University of Houston and the Texas Medical Center.

“Despite this,” says the report, “it lacks the number of world-leading universities that other cities have, and only performs moderately in terms of the educational attainment of its residents.”

Slower-than-expected population growth and an aging population weaken Houston’s human capital score, the report says.

Meanwhile, Houston’s score for quality is life is hurt by a high level of income inequality, along with a low life expectancy compared with nearly half the 1,000 cities on the list, says the report.

Also in the quality-of-life bucket, the report underscores the region’s variety of arts, cultural, and recreational activities. But that’s offset by urban sprawl, traffic congestion, an underdeveloped public transportation system, decreased air quality, and high carbon emissions.

Furthermore, the report downgrades Houston’s environmental stature due to the risks of hurricanes and flooding.

“Undoubtedly, Houston is a leading business [center] that plays a key role in supporting the U.S. economy,” says the report, “but given its shortcomings in other categories, it will need to follow the path of some of its more well-rounded peers in order to move up in the rankings.”

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This article originally ran on InnovationMap.

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