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Mura Technology announces partnership with Dow Chemical

The Dow Chemical Company (Dow), a global leader in materials science, and Mura Technology Ltd, a UK-based developer have announced a partnership to help keep plastic waste out of the environment. The collaboration will support the rapid scaling of Mura’s new Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution ("HydroPRS") process, which utilizes at its core Licella’s patented "Cat-HTR" technology.

John Wood Group PLC (Wood) has entered into a partnership with ReNew ELP to develop the world’s first commercial-scale plastic recycling plant using an innovative advanced recycling process in the northeast of England. Wood has been appointed by ReNew ELP as the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contractor on the multi-million-pound project, and work on this innovative site will start later in the Spring (image courtesy Wood).

The partnership will support the rapid scaling of Mura’s new HydroPRS process to prevent millions of tonnes of plastic and carbon from entering the natural environment every year and create the ingredients for a sustainable, circular plastics economy.

Financial strength and scientific expertise

Dow will also provide an offtake for the recycled materials from the world-first plant in Teesside, UK, supplying major brands across the globe with sustainable plastic products.

The deal marks an important step in Dow’s commitment to advance a circular economy for plastics and take action to significantly reduce plastic waste in the environment.

In a move that will transform the global plastics economy, Dow will bring its financial strength and materials science expertise to work in partnership with Mura to produce the 100 percent recycled plastic feedstock that global brands require in order to eliminate plastic waste from their supply chains and address the plastic pollution crisis.

Can recycle all forms of plastic waste

According to Mura, its proprietary Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution (HydroPRS), is a revolutionary advanced recycling process that uses supercritical steam to convert plastics back into the oils and chemicals from which they were made, for use in new, virgin-equivalent plastic products.

This innovative conversion process is efficient, with over 85 percent of the mass of plastic (daf) converted to hydrocarbon products.

Using Licella’s Cat-HTR technology at its core, which was developed by Licella Holdings Ltd, New South Wales (NSW), Australia, and for which Mura technology is a licensee, HydroPRS can recycle all forms of plastic – including multi-layer, flexible plastics used in packaging, which are considered ‘unrecyclable’ and are usually incinerated or sent to landfill.

ReNew ELP has waste plastic supply agreements with J&B Recycling and Emerald Biogas (photo courtesy ReNew ELP).

Additionally, it can process mixed, contaminated plastics – such as from food and paper – without the need for segregation, including multi-layer flexible plastics. Target feedstock is post-consumer, end of life plastics (ELP) including polyethylene (PE), low-density polyethylene (LDPE), high-density polyethylene (HDPE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polystyrene (PS).

Importantly, the recycled products may be suitable for use in food-contact packaging, unlike conventional recycling processes. There is no limit to the number of times the same material can be recycled with Mura’s process, meaning it has the potential to eliminate single-use plastic and make the raw ingredients for a circular plastics economy, creating value not waste.

In addition, advanced recycling processes are expected to save approximately 1.5 tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) per tonne of plastic recycled, compared to incineration according to an independent analysis by research and consultancy organization CE Delft in the Netherlands.

First plant with HydroPRS tech underway in Teesside

Dow will play an important role as a global manufacturer of plastic, proving that Mura’s solution can meet the 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 tonnes per annum line expected to be operational in 2022.

Once all four lines are complete, it will be able to recycle 80 000 tonnes of plastic waste annually, providing Dow with chemicals and oils produced by the process.

According to Licella, its proprietary Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) platform recycles plastic at a chemical level, meaning almost all plastic types can be recycled back into its chemical building blocks (photo courtesy Licella).

According to Licella, its proprietary Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) platform recycles plastic at a chemical level, meaning almost all plastic types can be recycled back into its chemical building blocks (photo courtesy Licella).

Dow will use these to develop new, virgin-grade plastic to be re-circulated into global supply chains, creating a true circular plastics economy. Dow and Mura are looking to co-operate on offtake at a number of additional European projects, currently in Mura’s development pipeline.

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 from 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, said Carsten Larsen, Commercial Director Plastic Circularity EMEA & APAC, Dow Packaging, and Specialty Plastics.

A business model for global deployment

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., the US multinational engineering services company, John Wood Group PLC (Wood), the 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.

Alongside its first plant in the UK, Mura has identified development opportunities in Germany, the US – where it will develop new recycling plants in each country within 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.

Plastic pollution is a global crisis and our goal is to meet the challenge head-on by eliminating millions of tonnes of plastic waste every year and turning it into 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 cement that way of thinking for global brands and deliver a circular plastics economy globally within the next decade, said Dr Steve Mahon, CEO of Mura Technology.

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