Mura and Dow plan Europe’s largest chemical recycling site in global expansion
16 Sep 2022 --- Advanced plastic recycling company Mura Technology has announced a new step in its collaboration with Dow. The duo will build a new facility at Dow’s Böhlen site in Germany, which will be the largest such chemical recycling plant in Europe. It will also be the latest in a series of planned constructions across the US and Europe to scale up chemical recycling capacity.
The project is targeted for a final investment decision by the end of 2023. The new facility, expected to be operational by 2025, would deliver approximately 120 kilotons per annum (KTA) of advanced recycling capacity when run at full capacity.
Between the Böhlen site and the other facilities planned for construction across Europe and the US, as much as 600 KTA of advanced recycling capacity could be operational by 2030. This would position Dow as one of the largest consumers of circular feedstock for PE production globally.
“We continue to increase Dow’s capacity to use recycled content as feedstock and continue to invest in the most effective technology available to enable our circular business model for plastics,” says Diego Donoso, president of Dow Packaging & Specialty Plastics.
“The diversification of our feedstock slate and decarbonization of our assets will enable the achievement of Dow’s goal of a sustainable, low-carbon future and meet strong and growing customer demand for circular polymers. This will be a significant step forward to decrease our dependency on virgin fossil-based feedstocks.”
The HydroPRS process
The planned facility builds on Dow’s ongoing collaboration with Mura, first announced last year, with an initial project to construct the world’s first plant using Mura’s HydroPRS process, located in Teesside, UK. That site is expected to be operational in 2023 with an initial 20 KTA production line.
Mura’s HydroPRS (Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Solution) advanced recycling process uses supercritical steam to convert most forms of plastics – including flexible and multilayer plastics, which have previously been deemed unrecyclable – back into the original oils and chemicals from which they were made. These can then be used to create new, virgin-equivalent plastic products which are even suitable for food contact packaging.
This circular feed at the Böhlen site, derived from plastic waste currently destined for incineration or landfill, would reduce reliance on virgin fossil-based feedstocks and enable Dow to produce recycled plastic which is in high demand from global brands – particularly for high-end sensitive markets like food and medical applications.
Dow says it aims to take advantage of co-location benefits, which could significantly reduce the cost of scaling advanced recycling facilities. In addition, the co-location of Mura’s facilities at Dow locations would be expected to reduce carbon emissions by minimizing transportation of the offtake and as gas output from the advanced recycling process can be converted back to plastics, ensuring no by-products go to waste.
Combatting plastic waste
Steve Mahon, CEO at Mura Technology, says the world is experiencing a “plastics crisis” that requires innovative solutions.
“Mura’s collaboration with Dow has led to the largest commitment across the industry to date, showcasing the urgency from industry leaders to adopt scalable solutions such as HydroPRS that will transform the plastics industry worldwide,” he explains.
“Dow’s commitments to accelerating a global circular plastics economy is exemplified through deploying HydroPRS at the newest advanced recycling facility in Germany, which will enable us to dramatically increase recycling capacity.”
With Mura’s HydroPRS process, the same material can be recycled repeatedly, giving it the potential to eliminate single-use plastic and prevent it from going to landfill or being incinerated. This has additional carbon benefits, with advanced recycling processes expected to save approximately 1.5 tons of carbon dioxide per ton of plastic recycled, compared to incineration and reducing reliance on fossil-based feedstocks.
“The continuation and growth of Dow and Mura’s collaboration is another example of how Dow is working strategically to expand and build momentum around securing circular feedstocks and supporting breakthrough advanced recycling technologies,” says Isam Shomaly, Dow business vice-president for Feedstocks and Commodities.
By Louis Gore-Langton
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