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Eastman advances in circular economy with Texas facility

EditorEmilio Ghigini
Published 03/25/2024, 09:55 AM
© Reuters.
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KINGSPORT, Tenn. - Eastman Chemical Company (NYSE: NYSE:EMN) has been selected by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) to begin award negotiations for a grant of up to $375 million, as it plans to construct a second molecular recycling facility in Longview, Texas. This move aligns with the company's strategy to lead in the circular economy and expands its commitment to sustainability.

The DOE's selection is part of the Industrial Demonstrations Program (IDP), which is funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and Inflation Reduction Act. The funding aims to support Eastman's efforts in demonstrating advanced low-carbon intensity recycled PET production. The Longview facility is expected to recycle around 110,000 metric tonnes of hard-to-recycle plastic waste annually.

Eastman's choice of Longview for its second facility was influenced by existing infrastructure synergies, energy supply, and the site's capacity for on-site renewable energy development. The investment will introduce over 200 full-time jobs and approximately 1,000 temporary construction jobs to the local community. Eastman has a longstanding presence in Longview, with over 1,500 employees already at the site.

Mark Costa, Eastman's Board Chair and CEO, highlighted the project's expected contributions to waste reduction, circularity, and decarbonization. The facility will utilize Eastman's next-generation methanolysis technology, potentially reducing carbon emissions of recycled PET by over 70% compared to traditional fossil fuel-based production.

The DOE's funding will also facilitate the integration of thermal heat batteries and solar power at the site, further enhancing the project's sustainability profile. Additionally, Eastman plans to renovate a community center in Longview to serve as a hub for community outreach and workforce training.

Texas Governor Greg Abbott praised the investment, citing Texas' business-friendly environment and skilled workforce as key factors in attracting such projects. The State of Texas has provided significant tax incentives, approximately $70 million, to support the project's development.

Eastman's molecular recycling technology addresses the challenge of recycling hard-to-recycle plastics by breaking them down to their molecular components and reassembling them into virgin-quality materials. This technology supports the creation of food contact polyesters with lower greenhouse gas emissions.

The company's broader circular economy strategy includes the recent completion of its first molecular recycling facility in Kingsport, Tennessee, and plans for another in France. This information is based on a press release statement from Eastman.

This article was generated with the support of AI and reviewed by an editor. For more information see our T&C.

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