Topics filter


Innovation and New Technologies

OMV’s ReOil® proprietary thermal cracking technology was developed to meet the European Commission’s targets for the circular economy and to fulfill future packaging recycling quotas. The ReOil® plant at the Schwechat refinery, which has a capacity of 100 kg/h, has been recycling post-consumer and post-industrial plastics into synthetic crude oil in a pyrolysis process since 2018. This synthetic crude is then processed mainly into monomers and other hydrocarbons in the Schwechat refinery. The pilot plant has been running for a total of 13,000 hours since its commissioning and thus enabled an improvement in the thermal cracking process and supported the further scale-up of the ReOil® technology. OMV and Borealis are pursuing the clear ambition of becoming a leading player in chemical and mechanical recycling technologies.

At Borealis, innovation is fundamental for contributing to the circularity of polyolefins and creating a more sustainable way of life. It also helps the Group improve its competitiveness and enhance its efficiency and sustainability – and therefore has a direct impact on people, the planet, and profit. The change in Borealis’ ownership structure and subsequent partnership with OMV has further increased the Group’s focus on the circularity of polyolefins and the availability of renewable hydrocarbons.

In the polyolefins business, our innovation activities concentrate on providing solutions to societal challenges as defined in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Examples include best-in-class materials for producing water and gas pipes, insulation for cables, and capacitor film used for transporting goods.

In the Polyolefins business unit, key achievements in 2021 included:

  • Infrastructure: The PE100 RC Pipe product family was completed with the introduction of colored and low-sagging grades, offering performance that is among the best in the market and enabling the even wider application of PE pipes in the construction industry.
  • Consumer products: The stiff/tough film product FX1003 was launched. The product performs at least as well as the best available materials on the market and has a superior ability to blend with post-consumer recyclates.
  • Circular economy solutions: Borealis launched the white, 100% post-consumer recyclate grade AH1040MO-90, which has been developed for injection molding for houseware products and large thin-wall packaging items.

The polyolefins business commercially launched 47 new products, beating its “21 in 2021” target. Achieving these launches in such a challenging year demonstrates that Borealis is a market leader in innovation and remains true to its purpose of reinventing for more sustainable living.

Similarly, in the base chemicals business, Borealis looks to find innovative approaches for using new feedstock sources, improving resource efficiency, and reducing energy consumption and flaring, which in turn reduces emissions of greenhouse gases and other substances such as dust. These activities also include CO2 avoidance and CO2 utilization opportunities, as well as chemical recycling.

During 2021, Borealis launched six new grades produced with renewable feedstock material as part of the Bornewables™ portfolio. Bornewables offer product properties equal to fossil-based products. This allows our partners to have a quick and easy transition from fossil-based polypropylene to a renewable feedstock-based polypropylene.

Borealis entered into collaborations with various organizations with complementary competencies in 2021. The aim here is to accelerate Borealis’ progress towards achieving circularity in manufacturing and using polyolefins, and reducing its carbon footprint. The following are the main partnerships:

  • Borealis reached an agreement with Renasci Oostende Recycling NV to acquire the entire output of its chemical recycling plant. The first quantities of the raw material obtained through chemical recycling were successfully processed at the Porvoo cracker during a test run in September 2021. Borealis expects to establish regular supply of the recycled material, which will be used as an important source of raw materials for polyolefins production.
  • Together with TOMRA and Zimmerman, the Group has started a state-of-the art recycling plant to produce recyclates that perform very close to a virgin material.
  • Borealis has an extensive patent portfolio, comprising around 8,300 granted patents and around 3,000 pending patent applications. In 2021, Borealis filed 133 new priority patent applications, which further contribute to safeguarding Borealis’ proprietary technologies and protecting its licensees. Many patents also protect products and applications.