Mura Technology [“Mura”], the UK-based developer of a new ground-breaking technology capable of recycling all forms of plastic waste, has today (14th January) announced a global partnership with KBR, a leading international provider of science, technology and engineering solutions, to support the global development of its proprietary technology, Cat-HTR™.
Plastic pollution is one of the most pressing environmental challenges today – approximately 8m tonnes of waste plastic ends up in the oceans every year1 and it is estimated that only 14% of global plastic packaging is collected for recycling2, with the lost resource of plastic waste valued at over $80bn per year3. Where plastic is not reused or recycled, new virgin plastic must be produced to meet demand. The production of this virgin plastic already accounts for 6% of global oil production, set to increase to 20% by 20504, creating significant carbon emissions.
Cat-HTR™ technology (Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor) is a world-first, advanced recycling process that uses supercritical steam (water at elevated temperature and pressure) to convert plastics back into the chemicals and oils from which they were made. The supercritical steam acts like molecular scissors, cutting the longer-chain hydrocarbon bonds in the plastics to produce shorter-chain hydrocarbon products. These are then ready to be used to produce new, virgin-grade plastic and other materials, or sustainably reused in other sectors, such as in roads. The Cat-HTR™ technology can recycle all waste plastics, including many that are considered unrecyclable, such as multi-layer, flexible plastic products like films, pots, tubs, trays and other packaging that is currently incinerated or sent to landfill.
Cat-HTR™ has the potential to help eliminate plastic waste, recycling all types of plastic to create a true circular economy, and preventing plastic from going to incineration, landfill or polluting the natural environment. It can also cut carbon emissions; each tonne of plastic processed via advanced recycling saves 1.5 tonnes of CO2 compared to incineration. Instead, waste plastic can become a resource, creating a circular plastics economy and decoupling the manufacture of new plastics from fossil fuels. Mura plans to have 1m tonnes of global plastic waste recycling capacity in operation or development by 2025. The world’s first site is in development in Teesside, UK.
Mura Technology has partnered with KBR as its exclusive licensing partner, to enable the identification of new markets for the technology and provide engineering and technical services and equipment to develop sites for global clients. KBR’s position at the forefront in the provision of innovative, game-changing technologies offers Mura Technology world-class development opportunities within the global petrochemical sector.
Dr Steve Mahon, CEO of Mura Technology said: “This technology is revolutionary. We face a global plastic pollution disaster, as only a minority of plastic waste can be recycled – the rest goes into the ocean, incineration or landfill – at great expense. Meanwhile, we take more oil out of the ground to make new plastics. We want to change the way the world thinks about plastics – not as a waste product, but as a valuable resource – using our technology to forge an environmentally friendly, plastic neutral and sustainable future.
“KBR is a natural partner for us to achieve this vision – a global leader with the capabilities to support the licensing of our technology around the world. This partnership will accelerate our plans to help eliminate plastic waste from the environment.”
Doug Kelly, KBR President, Technology, said: “We are extremely excited to announce that KBR will offer Cat-HTR™ for license to clients so they can efficiently recycle end-of-life waste plastic and convert it into a reusable feedstock for plastics or other valuable chemicals production. This technology aligns with KBR’s commitment to sustainability by reducing lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions and the volume of waste that enters landfills and the environment, whilst contributing to the growth of the plastic circular economy.”
Alongside the KBR partnership, Mura retains the ability to develop its own operational recycling capacity, with the first Cat-HTR™ site currently in development at Teesside in North-East England. On completion, the site will be able to process 80,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year. Mura also has also identified development opportunities in Germany and the USA, with exploration into Asian markets underway.
1 Plastic Oceans UK;
2 The Ellen McArthur Foundation – the New Plastics Economy: Catalysing Action, 2017;
3 The Ellen McArthur Foundation – the New Plastics Economy: Catalysing Action, 2017;
4 The Ellen McArthur Foundation – the New Plastics Economy: Catalysing Action, 2017.