Recycled oil is created through pyrolysis, a technique that involves extreme pressure and heat to break down plastics and vinyl to oil. In July 2021, the southern port city of Tongyeong revealed a plan to build a pyrolysis center that will use ocean wastes and plastic wastes to produce oil. Recycled oil created at the center will be used for operating small-sized fishing boats and other marine facilities.
GS Caltex said in a statement on December 22 that the company will use some 50 tons of recycled oil at a petrochemical refinery in Yeosu some 310 kilometers (192 miles) south of Seoul. The recycled oil will be used to produce propylene, a core petrochemical material used for the manufacturing of polypropylene plastics.
"Based on the results of the demonstration, we will use the recycled oil as our main tool to fulfill the duty of reducing the emission of greenhouse gases," an unnamed GS Caltex official was quoted as saying.
If the demonstration is successful, GS Caltex said that it will build a pyrolysis facility to produce 50,000 tons of recycled oil annually by 2024. The production capacity could be increased to up to one million tons annually. Because recycled oil is based on plastic wastes, the pyrolysis production process can reduce greenhouse gas emissions at the factor and increase the rate of recycling petrochemical products.
Previously, pyrolysis oil has not been used as a raw material for the production of petrochemical products due to impurities and concerns over air pollution. SK Innovation and its subsidiary, SK Geocentric, have carried out a joint study with the Korea Environmental Industry & Technology Institute on post-treatment technology to remove impurities. SK Innovation started using recycled oil at its petrochemical plant in the southeastern port city of Ulsan in September 2021.
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