Dow Rolls Out Plastics Recycling Projects in Europe, US

25.07.2022 - Dow has announced several new steps in its plans to accelerate the deployment of plastics recycling technologies in Europe and the US.

Building on a partnership formed in April 2021 with Mura Technology, the companies are now planning to build multiple world-scale 120,000 t/y advanced recycling facilities in Europe and the US, collectively adding as much as 600,000 t/y of capacity. The plans include potential co-location opportunities, which Dow said will provide significant integration benefits for Mura’s plants.

"This partnership continues to create momentum for Dow as we move towards feedstock flexibility and diversification, which is essential if we wish to advance a circular economy for plastics. And a fully circular business model for plastics will also enable decarbonization and support us on the road to net zero," said Diego Donoso, president of packaging & specialty plastics for Dow.

The plans, plus Dow’s commitments as a key off-taker of the recycled plastic, represent both companies’ largest investments to date for advancing global advanced recycling capabilities. They also mark an important milestone in the rapid scaling of Mura’s HydroPRS (hydrothermal plastic recycling solution) technology.

The HydroPRS process breaks down plastics using water in the form of supercritical steam. The steam acts like molecular scissors, cutting longer-chain hydrocarbon bonds in the plastics to transform them back into their original chemical and oil components. Dow said using supercritical steam means the technology is inherently scalable and, unlike other methods that heat waste from the outside, the steam imparts energy from the inside, providing an efficient conversion.

A first HydroPRS plant being built in Teesside, UK, is expected to be operational in 2023, producing 20,000 t/y of recycled plastics. Mura is also working with engineering groups KBR and Wood, among others, to accelerate the deployment of its technology worldwide.

Offtake deals with Valoregen and Nexus

In a separate announcement, Dow is working with French recycling company Valoregen to participate in building the largest single hybrid recycling site in France with capacity to process up to 70,000 t/y of plastic waste. The site in Damazan will eventually bring together mechanical recycling and advanced recycling processes so that all forms of plastic waste can be handled in one location.

The project is expected to be operational by the end of the first quarter of 2023. Valoregen will own and operate the site, which is expected to have a yield greater than 80% – well above the average conventional mechanical recycling rate of about 60-70%. Dow will be the main recipient of the post-consumer resins, which it will use to develop new plastic products under its Revoloop range.

The US materials science group has also signed a Letter of Intent with Nexus Circular to secure the output of a newly constructed advanced recycling facility in Dallas, Texas. The plant will process and convert more than 26,000 ty/ of plastic waste into circular feedstock that Dow will use to create recycled plastics for food contact, health, hygiene and fitness applications.

The LOI builds on the companies’ initial joint efforts in the Hefty EnergyBag program that enables hard-to-recycle plastics to be collected at curbsides. Nexus said the program has so far diverted over 1,800 t of hard-to-recycle plastics from landfills.

Dow has set sustainability targets that include having 100% of its products sold into packaging applications to be reusable or recyclable by 2035; enabling 1 million t of plastic to be collected, reused or recycled by 2030; and cutting its net annual carbon emissions by 5 million t – or 15% – from its 2020 baseline and becoming carbon neutral by 2050.

Author: Elaine Burridge, Freelance Journalist


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