SK Innovation Renames Petrochemical Subsidiary as Plastic Recycler SK Geocentric

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SK Innovation Renames Petrochemical Subsidiary as Plastic Recycler SK Geocentric

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South Korean energy and chemical company SK Innovation’s [096770:KS] petrochemical subsidiary SK Global Chemical (SKGC) has rebranded itself as SK Geocentric, switching its core business from traditional petrochemicals to plastic recycling, as reported by Korea Economic Daily on August 31. The firm plans to invest KRW5tr (USD4.3bn) in building plastic recycling factories by 2025, aiming at an annual capacity of 900,000 tons at that time and further expanding to 2.5m tons by 2027. Meanwhile, it also targets to increase its eco-friendly plastics production capacity from 500,000 tons at present to 1.9m tons by 2025. Through those eco-friendly businesses, SK Geocentric aims to set up a plastic value chain together with local governments and small companies from collecting used plastic to producing recycled plastic-based materials.

SK Geocentric will focus on chemical recycling technologies and currently is developing a method to thermally decomposing used plastics for petrochemical materials production. To achieve its targets, SK Geocentric is actively seeking partnerships on plastic recycling this year. In January, the South Korean company inked a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with US pyrolysis oil manufacturer Brightmark to build a plastic pyrolysis plant in South Korea, with a processing capacity of 100,000 tons per year by 2024. Later, on June 23, SK Geocentric claimed to acquire a 10% stake in Canadian Loop Industries [LOOP:US]. The two companies would jointly set up a depolymerization facility to process 84,000 tons of waste plastics a year by 2025, as well as a joint venture in 2022 to commercialize Loop’s PET plastic and polyester fiber manufacturing technology in Asia.

Last month, before its official rebranding, SK Geocentric announced to spend KRW600bn (USD522.6m) on the establishment of the country’s biggest plastic waste recycling plant in Ulsan, which is expected to be completed in 2025. The plant would have an annual process capacity of 184,000 tons, accounting for 60% of the national plastic waste. At that time, the company set the goal to expand the plastic recycling business to Asia with three more plants and reach a total capacity of 400,000 tons each year by 2030. In addition, the Ulsan plant was the first project after SK Geocentric’s parent SK Innovation on July 1 announced its long-term plan to invest KRW30tr in green projects by 2025.