The Horgen, Switzerland office of US-based Dow has announced plans to use its partnership with London-based Mura Technology to “build multiple advanced recycling facilities with a capacity of 120,000 metric tons globally in the United States and Europe”.
If the two companies go through with the plan, it will create up to 600,000 metric tons of annual non-mechanical recycling capacity, they say.
Mura explains that its hydrothermal recycling process, HydroPRS, “breaks down plastics using water in the form of supercritical steam (water at high pressure and temperature). The steam acts like molecular scissors, cutting the hydrocarbon chain bonds longer in plastics to produce the valuable chemicals and oils from which the plastic was originally made, in as little as 25 minutes.
The process, according to Dow and Mura, can recycle hard-to-sort items such as film, jars, bins and trays. “The process is designed to work alongside conventional recycling and broader initiatives to reduce and reuse plastic, such as mechanical recycling (where plastic waste is shredded and reformed into different plastic products), which remains crucial for Dow’s recycling strategy,” the company said. .
At the end of his process, says Mura, the oils produced are “equivalent to the original fossil products [and] are then used to produce new, virgin-grade plastic with no limit to the number of times the same material can be processed, creating a true circular economy for plastic [scrap].” Potential end markets include food contact packaging, Dow says.
The global chemicals and polymers company says its role in the partnership is as a “key buyer of circular power produced by Mura”. The circular process “reduces reliance on fossil feedstocks and will allow Dow to produce recycled plastic feedstock for the development of new, virgin-grade plastics that are in high demand by global brands,” Dow said.
The first plant using Mura’s HydroPRS process is under construction in Teesside, UK, and is expected to be operational in 2023 with a production line of 20,000 metric tonnes per year. The production “will provide Dow with 100% recycled raw material,” according to the companies.
The expanded partnership is expected to significantly increase this supply, playing an important role in Dow and Mura’s planned global deployment of up to 600,000 metric tons of hydrothermal recycling capacity by 2030.
Mura’s planned capital investments, along with Dow’s take-off agreements, represent the two companies’ largest commitment to date to advance and expand global non-mechanical recycling capabilities, the companies said.
“The strengthening of the partnership between Dow and Mura is another example of how Dow is working to build momentum around game-changing advanced recycling technologies,” said Marc van den Biggelaar, director of advanced recycling at Dow. “Dow is committed to accelerating a circular economy for plastics and our expanded partnership with Mura marks an important step in that journey.
Mura Technology CEO, Dr. Steve Mahon said, “Mura’s technology is designed to champion a global circular plastics economy, and our partnership with Dow is a key catalyst in bringing HydroPRS to every corner of the world. This next step in our partnership and the resources provided by Dow will enable us to fund and dramatically increase recycling capacity and enable circular plastics to enter global supply chains at scale.
Dow says it remains on track with projects related to mechanical recycling and recently announced two more: an investment to build what it calls “the largest single hybrid recycling site in France, managed by Valoregen, which will secure a source of post-consumer (PCR) resins for Dow” and a letter of intent with Atlanta-based Nexus Circular to create what it calls a circular ecosystem in Dallas for “previously unrecycled” plastic, which it says Dow, builds on its previous Hefty EnergyBag collaboration with Nexus and Reynolds Consumer Products.”