A new company has announced plans to build and operate plastic recycling plants in the UK, using “a breakthrough technology to chemically recycle end-of-life plastics into valuable oils and chemicals.”
ReNew ELP said in an 18 May release, that it will be bringing a new hydrothermal upgrading technology to the UK.
The process uses water at high pressure and high temperatures to chemically recycle feedstocks – including end-of-life plastics and used tires– into stable synthetic oils and valuable chemicals.
Based in Wilton Centre, on Teesside in the North East of England, ReNew ELP is advised by UK-based investment firm Armstrong Energy and is headed by Richard Daley,
"Around 6% of global oil and gas output is used in the production of plastics annually, but of the 311 million tonnes of plastics produced each year, only 5% is currently recycled, with much of the remainder ending up in landfill or polluting our oceans and fragile global ecosystems,” said Richard Daley, managing director.
According to Daley, the company's thermal conversion process uses water as the 'agent of change', meaning that the plant can operate at lower temperatures making it more efficient than pyrolysis or gasification.
"In addition, there is no need to dry the feedstock prior to treatment, which significantly reduces operating costs versus alternative technologies, and the process does not produce dioxins or other toxic compounds," he added.
ReNew ELP's patented catalytic hydrothermal reactor (Cat-HTR) technology was developed by Australian company Licella over the past 10 years and has already been extensively tested at a pilot plant in Australia.
The Cat-HTR process involves breaking down a wide range of plastics to their original component molecules and then rearranging these molecules to turn the waste plastic into readily usable chemicals and recycled oils.
ReNew ELP is building the first commercial-scale Cat-HTR plant at the Wilton international site to recycle end-of-life plastics.
The plant will initially recycle 20,000 tonnes of end-of-life plastic a year but ReNew ELP has planning consent for a further three units, with a potential total processing capacity of 80,000 tonnes per annum.