Dow and Mura Technology announce commitment to scale advanced recycling of plastics

Hydrothermal technology offers the scale to solve the plastic issue

Mura’s unique hydrothermal recycling process, HydroPRS™, breaks down plastics using water in the form of supercritical steam (water at elevated pressure and temperature). The steam acts like molecular scissors, cutting longer-chain hydrocarbon bonds in plastics to produce the valuable chemicals and oils from which the plastic was originally made – in as little as 25 minutes.

These oils – equivalent to the original fossil products – 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 waste. Importantly, the products may be suitable for use in food-contact packaging, unlike conventional recycling processes.

Mura’s innovative process can recycle all forms of plastic waste including those considered ‘unrecyclable’, such as films, pots, tubs and trays, that can currently only be incinerated or sent to landfill. The process is designed to work alongside conventional recycling and wider initiatives to reduce and reuse plastic such as mechanical recycling (where plastic waste is shredded and re-formed into different plastic products) which remains crucial to Dow’s recycling strategy.

Using supercritical steam means the technology is also inherently scalable. Unlike other methods, which heat waste from the outside, the steam imparts energy from the inside, providing an efficient conversion of plastic waste; a process which can be maintained regardless of scale.

Dow joins other major global players such as KBR Inc., the U.S. multinational engineering services company, Wood, the global consulting and engineering company, and others, as partners to accelerate the deployment of Mura’s technology worldwide. The technology is also backed by environmental group, Ocean Generation, which is campaigning to tackle the plastic waste issue.