Mura Technology, an advanced recycling company in the UK that has developed a proprietary recycling based on the use of supercritical water, has acquired a new shareholder, the company has announced.
In addition to purchasing a process licence from KBR, Mura’s exclusive global licensing partner, LG Chem has now also taken an equity stake in the recycling company. The investment will further buttress Mura’s ambitions to roll out its technology at industrial scale across the world, particularly in the key market of Asia, which represents 48% of global plastic production.
The licence will allow LG Chem to progress its plans to construct a facility in South Korea based on Mura’s Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Technology (HydroPRT), with an initial capacity to recycle up to 25,000 tonnes of plastic waste annually. It is the second agreement signed as part of Mura’s partnership with KBR, and follows the announcement of a licence with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation in June 2021, as well as strategic partnerships with Dow and Chevron Phillips Chemical Corporation.
Mura has a stated goal of developing one million tonnes of recycling capacity by 2025. The first site to use the HydroPRS process is already under construction - by ReNew ELP in Teesside, Northeast England. Here, 4 recycling lines are being built, each with an annual capacity of 20,000 tonnes. Construction has been planned in phases, and commenced with the first line in April 2021. This is due to be operational by late 2022.
Once the LG facility in South Korea, which will be the first in Asia to use supercritical water, is operational, LG Chem plans to review the potential for constructing additional sites. South Korea is one of the world’s leaders in plastic consumption per capita. Post-use plastic from both the commercial and industrial sectors contributes significantly to increased levels of waste in South Korea, while capacity for recycling at scale remains low, particularly in high-traffic, urban areas, despite the country’s aim to reduce its plastic waste by 20 percent by 2025. Construction of the HydroPRT facility is ‘an extremely important step towards tackling plastic waste pollution and slashing the carbon emissions which threaten our environment’, said Kug-lae Noh, the President of Petrochemicals Company of LG Chem.
According to Steve Mahon, CEO of Mura Technology, the investment by LG in Mura shows the ‘vital role HydroPRT will play in supporting a truly circular plastics economy globally and in tackling the carbon emissions caused by plastic’.
“We need efficient and scalable solutions today to cut plastic pollution, which is why we are continuing to work with industrial-scale partners around the world. These businesses provide the global platform our technology needs to drive real change,” he said.
Each year, an estimated 300 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated, half of which is single-use plastics. Further, the extraction of fossil fuels and their transportation to plastic manufacturing sites emits 12.5 to 13.5 million tonnes of greenhouse gases every year. A circular economy, in which plastics are reused, remade, and recycled, could slash CO2 emissions by 39% across the globe.