Plastic Energy opens new R&D labs at Loughborough

Article by Kerry Hebden

Plastic Energy
Left to right: Steve Christie, Professor of Chemical Technologies at Loughborough University, Andrew Lake, Plastic Energy Principal Scientist, David McNamara, Plastic Energy Chief Technology Officer, Carlos Monreal, Plastic Energy CEO

RECYCLING technology firm Plastic Energy has opened new research and development labs and a dedicated office space at Loughborough University, UK, a move that builds on a decade-long partnership between the two research teams. 

Housed in the Loughborough University Science and Enterprise Park (LUSEP), Plastic Energy has established itself as a leader in plastics recycling through a number of high-profile partnerships with companies such as Sealed Air, ExxonMobil, Total and Ineos.  

Key to the firm’s goal of preventing plastic pollution is its Thermal Anaerobic Conversion (TAC) technology, which converts hard-to-recycle plastic waste into TACOIL. According to Plastic Energy, 1m t/d of plastic is produced worldwide, and around 40% of all plastic produced is packaging. Only around 14% is recycled worldwide, whereas 40% is sent to landfill, 15% is incinerated and 32% leaks into the oceans. 

Once the plastic is transformed into TACOIL, it can then be used to produce virgin-quality recycled plastic or alternative low-carbon fuels. Not only does this create a circular economy for mixed, contaminated and multi-layered plastics, but it also cuts back on waste plastic going to landfill, and reduces the need for crude oil production.  

The firm owns and operates two chemical recycling plants in Almeria and Seville, Spain, and in 2020 it won IChemE’s top honour at its annual Global Awards, for its TAC technology. 

“After a decade of collaboration with Loughborough University, we are delighted to formally open our new Plastic Energy labs and office space at LUSEP,” said David McNamara, CTO at Plastic Energy. “This will provide a base for our research team to continue [its] work on our technology and act us a hub for internal and external visitors. We are grateful to Loughborough University for their continued support.”  

Article by Kerry Hebden

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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