Advanced recycling technology company Mura Technology in the UK has announced that it is partnering with KBR, a leading international provider of science, technology and engineering solutions, to promote the global development of its proprietary technology, Cat-HTR.
The technology developed by Mura is capable of recycling all forms of plastic waste, including those today considered unrecyclable, such as multi-layer, flexible plastic products like films, pots, tubs, trays and other packaging that is currently incinerated or sent to landfill.
Called Cat-HTR - Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor - technology, the process is the first in the world to use supercritical steam to convert plastics back into the original chemicals and oils from which they were made. This supercritical steam, which is actually water that is at a higher pressure and temperature than its critical point (22.1MPa, 374 °C), acts like molecular scissors, cutting the longer-chain hydrocarbon bonds in the plastics to produce shorter-chain hydrocarbon products. These intermediate hydrocarbon products are then ready to be used to produce new, virgin-grade plastic and other materials, or sustainably reused in other sectors, such as in roads. New materials made with products derived from the Cat‑HTR hydrothermal liquefaction process are suitable for use in food-contact packaging.
With this technology, Mura Technology wants to change the way the world thinks about plastics - not as a waste product, but as a valuable resource, said Steve Mahon, CEO.
“We face a global plastic pollution disaster, as only a minority of plastic waste can be recycled - the rest goes into the ocean, incineration or landfill - at great expense. Meanwhile, we take more oil out of the ground to make new plastics.”