South Korean petroleum and refinery company Hyundai Oilbank announced that it will start producing naphtha by adding plastic waste pyrolysis oil into the process of refining crude oil, as reported by Korea Economic Daily on November 18. The enterprise plans to supply the naphtha, which is mainly used as solvents in the petrochemical industry, to nearby petrochemical makers such as LG Chem [051910:KS], Lotte Chemical [011170:KS], and Hanwha Total [000880:KS].
The pyrolysis oil made by melting plastic waste could cause corrosion of facilities as it contains impurities such as chlorine. Therefore, Hyundai Oilbank will gradually increase the input of pyrolysis only when safety is secured through further research. So far, the company has injected 100 tons of plastic waste pyrolysis oil since November 18, as part of an empirical study. The firm piloted this eco-friendly method as the country is burdened with the growing pressure of disposing plastic waste. South Korea collected 8.53m metric tons of plastic waste per day in 2020, a rise of 14.6% from a year earlier, while China, the world’s largest garbage importer, prohibited all solid waste imports from 2021. In view of this, in early October, SK Geo Centric [285130:KS], a plastic upcycling enterprise, became the first company in South Korea to extract pyrolysis oil from plastic waste and use it as raw materials for refining and petrochemical processes.