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Development of an Energy Efficient PET Recycling Process Based on Microwave Heating

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - MICROCYCLING (Development of an Energy Efficient PET Recycling Process Based on Microwave Heating)

Reporting period: 2016-11-01 to 2017-04-30

Recycling rates for PET plastic are poor, resulting in tonnes of plastic ending up in landfill or discarded contaminating oceans and the environment in general. The cost of recycled PET, particularly for food grade applications is high, sometimes higher than virgin PET, making uncompetitive compared to the virgin material. Much of the recycled PET also does not have the required properties for anything other than the lowest quality applications. Improved, cost and energy efficient recycling PET is essential to increase recycling rates, reduce plastic waste and associated pollution, and reduce our dependence on the petrochemical inputs to creating new virgin plastics. This is precisely what MICROCYCLING delivers with a process for treating recycled PET for food-grade applications and to improve the inherent properties of the material for more demanding applications. This is achieved through a 62% energy saving compared to the best alternatives current available. The objective to bring MICROCYCLING to market readiness and an industrialised solution for the treatment of recycled PET plastic.
The MICROCYCLING technology has been extensively research and demonstrated in the laboratory and we have finalised the technology map, including necessary development tasks, for its industrialisation. We have study the market for MICROCYCLING, identifying a clear demand for the solution as well as our key markets. We performed a Freedom to Operate analysis to ensure there no intellectual property obstacles and to determine the regulatory issues around the MICROCYCLING technology. Our feasibility study has identified key stakeholders and partners, and details the business plan for launching MICROCYCLING as a market ready solution.
MICROCYCLING will make recycled PET a more economically viable solution in all applications because of the reduced energy cost of producing food-grade and high-molecular-weight PET. Our innovative heating technology will reduce the energy consumption by 62% and reduce dust generation by ensuring more uniform heat distribution throughout the bulk of the recycled material. This will boost recycling rates and reduce plastic waste. It will also reduce energy consumption, for example from fossil fuels, and lower our dependence on the petrochemical precursors.