Circular Plastics – Options, Threats and Opportunities for the European Petrochemicals and Plastics Industry

Decarbonization and circular economy – the two megatrends – are reshaping the European petrochemicals and plastics Industry. The presentation will share insights on how these two megatrends are influencing and reshaping the European and Dutch petrochemicals and plastics industries. The insights have significant relevance for the Dutch chemical clusters. The talk will share the 2030 scenarios on plastics production and consumption flows in the Netherlands with potential opportunities, risks, and scale of different recycling technologies – mechanical, pyrolysis, gasification, dissolution, etc.

The presentation will also cover the full circular economy scenario for plastics consumption in the Netherlands and 1) its relationship with the Dutch climate goals, 2) fitment within the European context, especially comparing it with Germany and Belgium.

A presentation by Rajesh Mehta, Senior Consultant at TNO.


Question 1: What drives you?
Decarbonization and Circular Economy megatrends are reshaping several sectors. Industry, governments, and start-up ecosystems are actively working towards building solutions to accelerate these megatrends and transition. The technological and business challenges associated with this transition thrives me. As an ecosystem partner, I like to be at the interface of business, technology, and sustainability to accelerate the change to the new economic system.

Question 2: Why should the delegate attend your presentation?
If you want to get an outlook, perspective, and challenges of the plastics value chain and technologies of the future – this is the presentation!

Question 3: What emerging technologies/trends do you see as having the greatest potential in the short and long run?
Integrated chemical & mechanical recycling, artificial intelligence-based sorting of waste plastics, and bio-based specialty plastics technologies have the greatest potential in the short and medium term. In the long run, a cascaded recycling ecosystem will emerge with several major recycling technologies getting deployed at scale.

Question 4: What kind of impact do you expect them to have?
Some of the emerging technologies have the potential to transform the petrochemicals and plastics industry value chain- For some of the applications, the plastics value chain we see now will not exist in 2050.

Question 5: What are the barriers that might stand in the way?
There are several barriers that stand in the way, such as 1) potential lack of policy support and cohesive response by different economies and nations, 3) long technology development cycles, 3) Delayed adoption by the industry of high TRL level technologies and 4) lack of agility and low risk-taking ability by the industry

About Rajesh Mehta
Rajesh Mehta is a technology and management professional with ~16 years of diversified experience in the global petrochemical and plastics industry. He has deep expertise in corporate sustainability, strategy, business, and financial modeling. As a senior consultant at TNO, Rajesh advises industry and policymakers on decarbonization and circular economy strategies. Rajesh has multifaceted program management experience ranging from technology development to technology assessment, and value chain analysis to deliver company-wide impact. At TNO, Rajesh works closely with technology teams and consortium partners to evaluate the commercial and sustainability potential of technologies under the development cycle.

About TNO
TNO, the Netherlands Organisation for applied scientific research, was founded by law in 1932 to enable businesses and governments to apply knowledge. As an organization regulated by public law, TNO is independent: not part of any government, university, or company. TNO connects people and knowledge to create innovations that boost the competitive strength of industry and the well-being of society in a sustainable way. We believe in the joint creation of economic and social value. We focus on transitions or changes in nine social themes:
Buildings, Infrastructure & Maritime : ‘Robust constructions, sustainable use’
The Circular Economy and the Environment: ‘Directing and accelerating sustainability’,
Defence, Safety and Security: ‘We’re putting our knowledge and technology to work for safety and security’
Energy: ‘Faster towards a sustainable energy supply’
Healthy living: ‘Focussing on participation, not on the disease’
Industry: ‘Innovating for employment, welfare and well-being’
Information & Communication Technology: ‘Interpreting and accelerating digital transformation’
Strategic Analysis & Policy: ‘Turning complex issues into concrete innovations’
Traffic and Transport: ‘Helping to create liveable, sustainable cities’

TNO stands for innovation with purpose and to develop knowledge not for its own sake, but for practical application.

Rajesh Mehta is speaker at the 2022 edition of Circular Chemistry Conference.

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