Materials science leader Dow and Mura Technology, a company specializing in advanced plastic recycling based in Teeside, UK, have entered into a partnership to help keep plastic waste out of the environment. The collaboration will support the rapid scaling of Mura’s new HydroPRS — Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution — that aims to prevent plastic and carbon from entering the natural environment while creating feedstock for a sustainable, circular plastics economy.
HydroPRS, as described in the video, uses supercritical steam to convert plastics back into the chemicals and oils from which they were made for use in new, virgin-equivalent plastic products. The proprietary process reportedly can recycle all forms of plastic, including multi-layer, flexible plastics used in packaging, which are difficult to recycle by conventional means and often are incinerated or sent to landfill, the companies claim.
Importantly, the plastics produced using these recycled products are expected to be suitable for use in food-contact packaging. With Mura’s process there is no anticipated limit to the number of times the same material can be recycled — meaning it has the potential to significantly reduce plastics being used once and make the raw ingredients for a circular plastics economy. In addition, advanced recycling processes are expected to save approximately 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of plastic recycled compared with incineration of unrecycled plastics.
The world’s first plant using HydroPRS is in development in Teeside, with the first 20,000-tonne-per-year line expected to be operational in 2022. Once all four lines are complete, Mura will be able to recycle up to 80,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year, providing Dow with materials produced by the process. Dow will use these materials to develop new, virgin-grade plastic for applications such as food packaging and other packaging products to be re-circulated into global supply chains, creating a true circular plastics economy, said the companies.
To reduce global plastic waste, Mura has designed its business model for rapid global deployment and is building a network of partners. Dow joins other major global players such as KBR Inc., a US-based multinational engineering services company; Wood, a global consulting and engineering company; and Igus GmbH, a global leader in industrial plastics, as partners to accelerate the deployment of Mura’s technology worldwide. Mura’s HydroPRS process, utilizing at its core the Cat-HTR technology, was developed by Australia’s Licella Holdings Ltd.
Alongside its first plant in the UK, Mura has identified development opportunities in Germany and the United States — it said that it will develop new recycling plants in both countries in the next five years — and in Asian markets as part of a rapid global rollout that will see one million tonnes of recycling capacity in development worldwide by 2025. The partnership with Dow will be a key driver of this goal. Mura is continuing to raise funds to drive further expansion and is in discussions with a range of global investors.