March 2024, Vol. 251, No. 3

Tech Notes

INEOS Polymer Used to Create First Sustainable Gas Pipeline

Special to P&GJ 

(P&GJ) — INEOS said its bio-based high-density polyethylene (HDPE) has been used to create a fully sustainable gas pipeline. Installed by French gas utility operator GRDF, the pipeline only uses the low-carbon footprint polymer.

The new one kilometer of pipeline was installed in Clermont Auvergne Métropole, in the French city of Clermont-Ferrand, as part of a GRDF program to deploy “green” pipelines in parts of the region, similar the company’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint.  

“Alongside the work we are doing to drive down emissions and reduce plastic waste in the polyolefins industry, it’s another example of our commitment to working with partners to develop efficient, lower emission solutions for transporting important utilities and goods around Europe’s cities,” said Rob Ingram, INEOS Olefins & Polymers North CEO. 

The pipeline is made from bio-based, certified HDPE, supplied by INEOS Olefins & Polymers Europe. It’s made from wood processing residues from the paper industry, which are transformed into tall oil, a bio-naphtha. The tall oil is turned into bio-ethylene in INEOS Cologne and transported to INEOS’ polymer plant in Lillo, Belgium, where it is used to manufacture bio-based HDPE.  

The result is a polymer with a significantly lower carbon footprint than conventional, fossil-based polymers and because of this it has been recognized by the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (or ISCC), an independent, third-party organization. ISCC have certified that the production of the pipes laid by GRDF met ISCC Plus standards by replacing the use of fossil fuel-derived feedstocks to produce the new material.  

Importantly, the bio-polymer has the same technical characteristics as conventional polymers, enabling a partner like GRDF to meet the highest standards of safety while reducing the environmental impact of networks it operates on behalf of local authorities. It also creates the potential for the innovation to be repeated for other gas and water pipelines.  

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