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Dow and Mura Technology announce partnership to scale advanced plastic recycling solution
Global plastic manufacturer Dow, and advanced recycling specialist Mura Technology, have announced a partnership to support the rapid scaling of Mura’s new HydroPRS™ (Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution), an advanced recycling process aimed at preventing plastic and carbon from entering the natural environment while creating the feedstocks for a sustainable, circular plastics economy.
The partnership combines Dow’s materials science capabilities, global scale and financial resources with Mura’s leading technology, to produce the circular feedstocks which are then converted into the recycled plastics that consumers and global brands are increasingly seeking.
Mura’s HydroPRS™ 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. HydroPRS™ can recycle all forms of plastic – including multi-layer, flexible plastics used in packaging, which are currently harder to recycle and often incinerated or sent to landfill.
Importantly, the plastics produced using these recycled products are expected to be suitable for use in food-contact packaging, unlike most conventional recycling processes. 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 to incineration of unrecycled plastics.
Dow will play an important role as a global manufacturer of plastic, proving that Mura’s solution can meet both the sustainability and performance needs of the industry and that the products made via HydroPRS™ can be employed at scale to make new plastics. The world’s first plant using HydroPRS™ is in development in Teesside, 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.
Carsten Larsen, commercial director for Plastic Circularity EMEA & APAC at Dow Packaging and Specialty Plastics, said: “We are delighted to offer our investment and expertise to support the development of this truly game-changing recycling process. We are committed to enacting real change to stop plastic going to waste and accelerate moves towards a more circular economy. We know achieving this goal will take major innovation and investment and we can’t do it alone. That’s why our partnership with Mura is so exciting and why we believe it will form a key pillar of our recycling strategy going forward.”
Dr Steve Mahon, CEO of Mura Technology, added: “Plastic pollution is a global challenge and our goal is to meet it head on by recapturing millions of tonnes of plastic waste every year and put them to work again as a valuable resource for the world’s biggest brands.
“We’re changing the way the world thinks about plastics – not as something to throw away, but as a product that can be used over and over again, and sustainably, without damaging our natural environment. Our partnership with Dow will help make this a reality for global brands and deliver a circular plastics economy globally within the next decade.”
Global plastic production also creates an estimated 390m tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to over 172m cars. It accounts for 6% of global oil consumption today and is set to increase to 20% by 2050. Advanced recycling processes reduce the need for fossil fuel extraction for virgin plastics. In addition, they can save approximately 1.5 tonnes of CO2 per tonne of plastic recycled compared to incineration. On completion, the Teesside plant has the potential to eliminate up to 120,000 tonnes of CO2 per year, compared to incineration of the same plastic waste.
To reduce global plastic waste, Mura has designed its business model for rapid global deployment and is building a global 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 utilises at its core the Cat-HTR™ technology, which was developed and is owned by Licella Holdings in New South Wales, Australia.
Alongside its first plant in the UK, Mura has identified development opportunities in Germany and the United States – where it will develop new recycling plants in both countries in the next five years – and 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 and Mura is continuing to raise funds to drive further expansion and is in discussions with a range of global investors.