Decarbonisation Technology - May 2023 Issue


Pyrolysis oil storage Primary conversion collaborators

Feed storage/cracker Shell otake option

BP shift 3



1 Pretreatment

2 Upgrading

Figure 3 The Shell Recovered Plastic Upgrader enables the use of diverse feeds and provides a wider range of final compounds

Plastic circularity value chain At the end of their life cycle, many waste plastics are taken to landfills and incinerators or leak into the environment. Existing reuse and recycle technologies apply to only a small portion of waste plastic. Plastic circularity helps meet sustainability targets by providing pathways to chemically recycle and reuse plastic waste currently perceived by many as non-recyclable. To encourage plastic recycling, non-governmental organisations, media outlets, politicians, celebrities, company investors and citizens have voiced their support for recycled and recyclable plastics, even if it means paying a slight premium. Brand owners also prioritise the use of 100%-recycled and recyclable materials. Shell is therefore developing a technology portfolio that can facilitate multiple plastic upgrading routes. One such route includes collaboration with technological partners that perform primary conversion and pyrolysis of plastic waste. The pyrolysis oil is then processed with the Shell Recovered Plastic Upgrader (SRPU), which is capable of processing a wide range of feeds with varying properties and purity levels. The method involves pretreatment to remove most impurities and a feed upgrading stage to remove the remaining contaminants, followed by a boiling point shift and fractionation for enhanced selective conversion. Proprietary catalyst technologies are used to maintain a high yield and achieve the desired properties of the final compounds. Depending on a customer’s needs, Shell Catalysts & Technologies can provide a complete value chain or individual processing

blocks. For example, a pyrolysis oil refining company may benefit from the pretreatment unit in the SRPU process (see Figure 3 , Step 1) to remove corrosive contaminants and enable a variety of feeds to be processed. Alternatively, a chemical company lacking integrated refining technology may want to maximise naphtha production as a drop-in feed for its steam cracker and opt for an offtake of the heavier compounds. In this case, the client would benefit from the entire SRPU value chain (Figure 3, steps 1-4) and an offtake agreement with Shell. Hydrogen value chain While the markets for hydrogen need to be further developed, the ability to produce low carbon intensity hydrogen is well established. Shell Catalysts & Technologies is currently licensing the Shell Blue Hydrogen Process (SBHP), a non-catalytic, oxygen-based process involving methane partial oxidation combined with cost-effective, pre-combustion carbon capture technology. Shell Catalysts & Technologies is involved in a wide range of decarbonised hydrogen industrial multisectoral projects, as represented in Figure 4 , that enable the production of low-carbon chemicals, decarbonised (blue) ammonia (as an efficient hydrogen carrier), electricity, and consumer goods. We believe that, initially, decarbonised hydrogen can complement renewable hydrogen production. The high cost and low availability of renewable electricity currently makes renewable hydrogen considerably more expensive than decarbonised hydrogen. Forecasts suggest that cost parity


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