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Read the answers to frequently asked questions about the Green Circular District

We estimate that the first districts will enter into operation in 3–4 years.

The project’s governance will be evaluated on a case-by-case basis, and we do not exclude the possibility of public/private partnerships. The project has attracted the interest of European funds on regional development, industrial reconversion, climate change, institutional investors, and supranational and corporate Italian financial institutions involved in the energy transition process, and it is fully in line with the criteria and guidelines of the Recovery and Resilience Fund.

The investment value can be estimated at around €300–400 million.

Yes, there is a small amount of CO2 produced by the Green Circular District. But we are striving for carbon neutrality by monitoring parameters and incorporating green hydrogen into the process, so we are aiming for our carbon impact to be completely offset.

We will surely perform an assessment. In any case, supply flows are managed with a keen focus on minimizing mileage and achieving the right logistics mix (road, train or ship, depending on where each district is located) to reduce environmental impact.

When a hydrocarbon undergoes complete combustion, carbon dioxide, water, heat and a series of micropollutants that are harmful to health are created. Electricity is normally produced using the heat that it generates. In contrast, NextChem’s chemical conversion technology is based on a process of partial oxidation, which is stopped at the stage where carbon monoxide and hydrogen (called syngas) are generated. The syngas then undergoes an acid and basic wash to remove all solid contaminants. The final result of the process is a vitrified residue made from the inert fraction that can be found in the treated materials, such as traces of sand and metals.

The project contributes to protecting the environment and the health of the population and workers, as it leads to an overall reduction of CO2 emissions and no pollutants are released into the atmosphere. In the case of waste-to-chemical recycling, the residues from the gas purification process are disposed of safely. The “leftovers” from the conversion process (inert substances found in the waste and non-convertible residues) are then turned into an inert vitrified residue that has various industrial applications.

In order to plan a Green Circular District, around 100-200 new direct and indirect jobs are created, plus 400-500 jobs dedicated to plant building during construction.

We want to source skills from the local labour market and we will make all our know-how available to train the people who will work with us.

Our plan is for the districts to be placed on brownfield sites, where industrial businesses are already present, whether in active operation or having been decommissioned, because where refineries, petrochemical plants or steelworks are present, we already have an industrial site, the logistics infrastructure, the facilities and the skills that we need to run these plants. Brownfield site, which is traditionally of national interest, is land where greener processes should be implemented, where the carbon footprint of processes should be reduced, and where circular processes should be introduced. These districts can create a virtuous circle and lead to positive changes in the region.

We have a plant that is already in operation in Brescia, and it has plastic waste Upcycling technology installed. We are currently designing a plant in Livorno to produce methanol from the chemical conversion of waste. We have a feasibility study underway for building a circular hydrogen plant in Taranto, a project in partnership with Enel Green Power to build a green hydrogen electrolysis plant powered by renewables in the United States, and other projects that are taking shape both in Italy and abroad.

We’re designing waste-to-chemical plants with modules that have a treatment capacity of 200,000 tons per year, meaning that they can serve an average geographical area and achieve economies of scale useful to reducing the cost of waste management for public authorities, and therefore for citizens. Concerning Upcycling, the plant in Bedizzole, which has MyReplastTM technology installed, has a treatment capacity of 40,000 tons per year. Concerning the production of green hydrogen from electrolysis, capacity can vary greatly based on the supply of energy from renewable sources.

Yes. Steel plants are what we view as the ideal site, especially integral cycle steelworks that produce steel from iron and don’t use an electric furnace, as they already have coke ovens. We imagine massive waste-to-syngas plants at steelworks that can produce CO and hydrogen. CO and hydrogen are the best reducing gases; when they see ferric oxide, they transform it into elemental iron and then into iron carbide, which serves as the foundation of steel production.

We imagine building plants in parallel according to a modular model, as we want to maintain the same geometric layout and guarantee the same fluid dynamics that JFE’s plants in Japan have, JFE being the company with whom we’ve signed a partnership agreement with to implement and license their conversion technology. These plants have to work around the clock, 365 days a year, because towns deliver waste every day.

Mostly plastic waste and RDF (Refused Derived Fuels), but with our technology we can process any kind of dry waste, except of course hazardous or medical waste. We don’t have to pretreat our waste, so we have great flexibility.