Technology for advanced recycling

Dow and Mura Technology to find advanced recycling solution for plastics

Dow and Mura Technology announced a partnership to help keep plastic waste out of the environment with a technology that can recycle all forms of plastic. The recycled products are expected to be suitable for use in food-contact packaging.

The collaboration will support the rapid scaling of Mura’s new HydroPRS (Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution) 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 technology, to produce the circular feedstocks which are then converted into the recycled plastics that consumers and global brands are increasingly seeking.

Mura’s proprietary solution, HydroPRS, is a advanced recycling process that 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, UK, 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.

This ‘lost resource’ of plastic waste is a huge economic opportunity – valued at up to 120 billion dollar per year according to the World Economic Forum. Global plastic production also creates an estimated 390 million tonnes of CO2 every year – equivalent to over 172 million cars. While plastic production accounts for approximately 6 percent of global oil consumption today, by deploying technology capable of recycling all plastics and creating the ingredients for a circular plastics economy, advanced recycling can decrease the use of oil by the chemical industry. Mura offers the prospect of dramatically cutting global plastic waste and associated emissions attributed to that 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 Limited, 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. Mura is continuing to raise funds to drive further expansion and is in discussions with a range of global investors.