Innovate UK invests £1.2 million in chemical recycling technology

Innovate UK, part of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), has announced its support of a £1.2 million project between Recycling Technologies, University of Birmingham, University of Surrey and Cranfield University to enhance and improve the efficiency of chemical recycling technology in the UK.

black plastic packagingThe funding has been made available as part of Innovate UK’s Smart ‘open grant funding programme’, which looks to support commercially viable and innovative business ideas.

The research project will aim to further develop and enhance the RT7000, a machine manufactured by Recycling Technologies which converts waste plastics into Plaxx®, a recycled feedstock that can be used to manufacture new plastic.

The RT7000 can process most types of plastics that are not routinely recycled, including soft and flexible packaging such as films, multi-layered plastics such as crisp packets and contaminated plastics such as food trays.

In this project, the parties involved will work together to develop an online monitoring system which will predict and control Plaxx® quality based on input composition and process conditions.

The results of the collaboration are expected to reduce running costs and improved efficiency for the RT7000, which in turn would speed up the development of commercial chemical recycling and see benefits for the environment by reducing the need to incinerate, bury or export residual plastic waste.

The production of Plaxx® is considered to be a valuable building block in moving towards a circular plastics economy.

Gary Leeke, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, commented: “A team of academics and researchers are excited to support the development of Recycling Technologies Ltd commercial chemical recycling plant.

“The team involves academics from Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy and Materials who are working with the wider project team to control the quality of the Plaxx product and improve plant efficiency.

“Technology development of this kind is key supporting the transition from a linear to a circular economy for plastic waste.”

This latest Innovate UK investment follows UKRI’s announcement of a £20 million funding boost for state-of-the-art recycling technologies in the UK last October, which subsidised the construction of four recycling plants across the UK as part of UKRI’s Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund.

Last year also saw Recycling Technologies receive a €10 million investment from renewable diesel and jet fuel company Neste and sustainable investment management Mirova, which is supporting the installation of Recycling Technologies first RT7000 commercial-scale unit at Binn Eco Park, Perth, Scotland.

Commenting on Innovate UK’s recent investment, Marvine Besong, Technical Director at Recycling Technologies added: “Recycling Technologies is delighted to have received this grant from Innovate UK’s far-sighted Smart programme to invest in the best game-changing and commercially viable and innovative disruptive ideas.

“Our collaboration with these leading UK universities with a long track record of successful engineering research and development will fast-track our mission to accelerate the evolution of waste plastic into a more sustainable material.”