On the heels of the licencing agreement signed in June of this year, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation has now announced that a final investment decision has been made regarding the development of its first Hydro-PRT (Hydrothermal Plastic Recycling Technology) project in Japan. According to an announcement today from UK chemical recycler Mura Technology , who developed the technology, and KBR, its exclusive licensing partner the new plant - the first of its kind in Japan - will be built at MCC’s Ibaraki plant, ‘bringing us closer to achieving our common goal of a clean and green future’, said Doug Kelly, KBR President, Technology.
The process moreover offers a deliverable solution for Japan to meet its 2030 goal of reducing disposable plastic waste by 25%.
Hydro-PRT is a technology developed by Mura and based on the use of supercritical water that enables mixed plastic waste to be recycled into feedstock for new plastics and other products.
The technology is able to process many types of plastic which currently cannot be recycled via traditional mechanical recycling processes. These plastic waste materials can be recycled with Hydro-PR a limitless number of times, according to the company. Moreover, the use of supercritical water makes the process inherently scalable, allowing for efficient scale-up at point of need.
In addition to this collaboration with MCC, Mura and KBR are currently exploring additional projects in Asia, the USA and Europe to supplement the global roll-out of Hydro-PRT and meet Mura’s goal of developing one million tonnes of recycling capacity by 2025.
“Plastic waste is polluting our environment at an alarming rate, not to mention the carbon emissions caused by utilising the fossil fuels needed to make virgin plastics. We need global, sustainable, and scalable solutions today,” said Steve Mahon, CEO of Mura Technology. "That is why we are taking an international approach – to scale fast and meet the challenge head on,” said Mahon. “Our collaboration with KBR makes this kind of global expansion possible, and we look forward to exploring new future projects with them in Europe and Asia in the coming months.”
Construction of the new plant is expected to be completed in 2023. The initial processing capacity will be 20,000 tonnes of plastic waste per year, although MCC is already studying the possibility of increasing capacity in the future.
Initially, the project will aim to use post-industrial plastics. However, as Japan generates some 9 million tonnes of plastic waste a year, MCC will be looking to extend the scope of the project to include the use of post-consumer plastics as raw materials.
“We see this as an extremely important step forward and MCC will continue to study and implement solutions towards a circular economy,” said Shigeru Handa, Chief Operating Officer, Basic Materials Domain, Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation.
Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation is a core operating company of the Mitsubishi Chemical Holdings Group. It is striving to become the Kaiteki company, where Kaiteki refers to “the sustainable well-being of people, society and our planet Earth.” In April 2020, MCC established the Circular Economy Department, dedicated to promoting the realisation of a circular economy that effectively uses finite resources to simultaneously realise sustainability and growth. Going beyond simply recycling industrial materials, MCC aims to transition to a carbon-neutral society by controlling CO2 emissions over entire product life cycles.