NextGen District to host PureCycle’s first European facility

US firm will build its first polypropylene recycling facility in Europe in the NextGen District in the Port of Antwerp-Bruges

PureCycle Technologies, the American plastic waste recycling firm, has announced that it will build its first polypropylene (PP) recycling facility in Europe at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges’ fast-growing NextGen District, in Belgium.

In a statement, the NASDAQ-listed firm said that the new plant is expected to have an annual capacity of 59,000 metric tons (130 million pounds). It will come with the opportunity to expand operations in the future since the 14-hectare plot can support up to four processing lines with an anticipated total capacity of approximately 240,000 metric tons (500 million pounds) per year (in total for all four processing lines). 

PureCycle added that it is currently engaged in feedstock sourcing and financial planning with the intent to secure a final project timeline by mid-2023. Construction of the plant is expected to begin upon completion of the permitting process, which is currently anticipated in 2024.  

PureCycle Vice President of European Operations, Wiebe Schipper, commented: "The announcement of our first location in Europe marks the next phase in executing PureCycle's global growth strategy. We are excited to bring our Ultra-Pure Recycled (UPR) resin to customers in Europe, where companies and policies are at the forefront of the circular economy. 

“Being in the NextGen District will enable us to capitalise on existing efficiencies, collaborate with other innovators in the space and forge new partnerships.

"We want to thank the Port of Antwerp-Bruges for believing in our mission and for providing the support necessary to get this project off the ground. Our team at PureCycle looks forward to creating a more sustainable future together,” Schipper continued.

The NextGen District is a global hub for businesses seeking to advance the circular economy. The district is located at the Port of Antwerp-Bruges, Europe's second largest seaport. PureCycle was recently awarded a concessionaire contract during NextGen's competitive bid selection process.

"The Port of Antwerp-Bruges' NextGen District is committed to creating an innovation hotspot where companies dedicated to building a circular economy and developing sustainable solutions to some of the world's toughest climate and environmental challenges can thrive. We're thrilled to be partnering with PureCycle on this strategic project to help bring that vision to life,” said Jacques Vandermeiren, CEO of the Port of Antwerp-Bruges.

Game Changer

The statement from PureCycle added that the company is already in active negotiations with potential feedstock and offtake partners and expects to commence commercial operations at its new European facility when construction of the first processing line is completed. 

The new polypropylene purification plant will not only supply the European market with PureCycle's UPR resin but is also expected to create 65-70 new jobs for local residents during the initial phase of the project. 

The project represents one of the largest investments announced in the NextGen District to date, the company said, adding that various funding options are currently being considered. These include traditional financing sources as well as grants/subsidies for circular projects that are uniquely available in the EU.

Minister-President of Flanders, Jan Jambon, remarked: "PureCycle selected Flanders as the preferred location within the EU for the construction of its first European recycling plant. This confirms that Flanders is among the world leaders in waste collection and processing and strengthens our position even more firmly as a leading recycling hub. 

“PureCycle's purification technology is a game changer within the circular economy and will have a major impact on making plastics - and pre-eminently the chemical cluster around the Port of Antwerp-Bruges - even more sustainable. As a region that pioneers in circular innovation, we are extremely proud to welcome this new ecosystem-strengthening partner in Flanders. 

“Export and investment promotion agency Flanders Investment and Trade (FIT) played a leading role in this investment dossier through teams in the US and in Flanders. FIT also supports PureCycle in the start-up and development of their site and their anchoring in Flanders."

The company's flagship recycling plant in Ironton, Ohio is expected to start pellet production in Q1 of 2023, while PureCycle’s second plant in Augusta, Georgia is under initial construction. The company’s first PP recycling plant in Asia is currently on track to open in 2025.

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