Recycling Technologies, an advanced recycling technology provider based in the UK, has completed the first phase of a project funded by the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) to enhance the efficiency of its chemical recycling process. The project involved the hydrogenation of Plaxx oil, the recycled, liquid hydrocarbon feedstock produced by Recycling Technologies via thermal cracking from residual plastic waste in its RT7000 machine. Plaxx is suitable, among others, for use in the manufacturing of new polymers.
The company collaborated with NiTech, a leading authority and expert on continuous processing on the project, as well as with the Centre for Sustainable and Circular Technologies (CSCT) at the University of Bath and Optimal Industrial Automation, a leading specialist in the automation of manufacturing systems to optimise production processes.
Among others, the project examined the feasibility of incorporating NiTech’s Oscillating Baffle Reactor (OBR) into the existing elements within Recycling Technologies’ pyrolysis machine to boost the quality of Plaxx and create steam-cracker ready feedstock. This would make it possible to cut out the pre-treatment step.
Optimal Industrial Automation’s participation in the project allowed the feasibility of incorporating analytical technologies to be tested that would further automate the recycling process. The aim was not only to enhance process efficiency but also to develop digital controls for distributed units that could be deployed and utilised flexibly across the world.
“This project is a critical element of our desire to accelerate the evolution of plastic into a more sustainable material through innovation and technical excellence,” said Marvine Besong, Technical Director at Recycling Technologies.
The project team will now work to deliver a demonstrator which will help bring the concept to commercial reality.
Recycling Technologies’ RT7000 machine is modular and small-scale, designed to fit easily onto existing waste treatment and recycling sites, providing a scalable solution to recycle waste plastic anywhere in the world.
The company stressed that its Plaxx feedstock is not intended for use as fuel. ‘It is a valuable building block in the circular economy and the plastics value chain, providing post-consumer recycled content for new plastic products in line with governmental targets’, it said.