The first commercial Cat-HTR-plant is currently being planned in Wilton, UK, with construction due to start this year. Waste companies supply the waste plastic to meet their recycling goals. Oil is then obtained that can be sold as a replacement for virgin fossil oil. A total of four catalytic hydrothermal reactors are to be built in Wilton and will be able to process more than 80,000 tons of plastic waste every year. As a next step, Mura is planning to issue licences all over the world and build new plants
The patented Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor was first developed in 2007 and tested for over 10 years at a pilot plant in Australia. With Cat-HTR, classic non-recyclable plastic waste can be converted back into crude oil within 20 minutes. Only water, high temperature and pressure are used to separate the cells and join them together again. One plant alone can process 20,000 tons of plastic per year, reducing CO2 output by 28,180 tons. This total corresponds to the annual fuel consumption of 5,983 cars, or the annual energy requirements of 4,914 households.
Plastic recycling is an important topic at Igus. The introduction of its ‘Chainge’ programme last year allows companies to send their end of life plastic cable management systems, or energy chains, to Igus for recycling – irrespective of the manufacturer. Plastics are then sorted, cleaned, shredded and packed. After this, the plastics can be reused by Igus or other companies to produce products.
"With the Igus Chainge programme, we are recycling plastics from old products. This is the best way for high-performance, or technical, plastics," says Frank Blase, managing director of Igus. “For non-technical plastics, chemical recycling offers a new solution. In the middle of last year, I became aware of the Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor technology in an article and contacted the German inventor, Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, in Sydney. Seven months later, after intensive research, we are investing £4 million in Mura Technology and the construction of the first Cat-HTR plant. We are committed to achieving a state of balance in the world of plastics with technical solutions.”