The UK is to be the first market targeted by Recycling Technologies with the process it has developed to convert mixed plastics waste into fuel oil.
The company, a spin-out from the University of Warwick, has developed the RT7000 pyrolysis technology to create a low-sulphur hydrocarbon product called Plaxx from mixed plastics waste that is otherwise hard to recycle.
The company has this year been running a pilot plant and is expecting to build the first commercial RT7000 machine next year. This will have capacity to produce 5,000 tpa of Plaxx, said Adrian Griffiths, CEO of Recycling Technologies, based in Swindon, UK.
Materials recycling facilities (MRFs) in the UK have to pay to dispose of mixed waste, which comprises residual plastic waste not captured in the PET and other plastics waste streams.
There are 35 sites in the UK that have expressed interest in taking the RT7000 machine, and some of those have signed agreements to be early customers, said Griffiths, speaking to Plastics News Europe.
He said that concentrating just on the UK market will allow the company to take a phased approach to the market introduction.
The company's business model involves leasing the RT7000 machine to an MRF and buying back its Plaxx output. It will maintain the machine during its operating life – and in the UK market will even provide the staff to operate it.
“We will make it very easy for the MRF,” said Griffiths. The MRF's role is to provide the waste raw material, which it would have to dispose of in any case.
Recycling Technologies has used various sources of finance for its project. These have included “business angels” – early investors in higher risk businesses – which have supported the company through the UK's Enterprise Investment Scheme. Grant funding bodies such as Innovate UK have also played an important role, said Griffiths.
In October, Recycling Technologies was one of the sustainability-focused start-ups that took part in the Unreasonable Impact business accelerator programme. This is a partnership between banking group Barclays and US-based Unreasonable Group which “helps scale high-growth ventures addressing key global challenges with the ultimate aim of creating the jobs of tomorrow”, the partners said.