A team of academics from the University of Birmingham, University of Surrey and Cranfield University, as well as Recycling Technologies, have received a £1.2 million grant from Innovate UK.
As a branch of UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), Innovate UK have launched a new open grant funding programme. The programme was created to support commercially viable and innovative ideas in business.
The research project is focusing on developing and enhancing the RT7000. Manufactured by Recycling Technologies, the machine converts waste plastics into Plaxx®. Plaxx® is a recycled feedstock which is used to manufacture new plastic products. The RT7000 works particularly with plastic types that are not often recycled. These include items such as films, multi-layered plastics, and contaminated plastics.
The aim of this new collaboration of academics is to develop a monitoring system to work alongside the RT7000, helping to predict and control the quality of Plaxx®. This collaboration will hope to improve efficiency and reduce running costs. The result will be an improved commercial chemical recycling process, which will reduce the need to dispose of plastic waste through incineration, burying, or exporting.
Gary Leeke, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham, explains: “Technology development of this kind is key supporting the transition from a linear to a circular economy for plastic waste.” Plaxx will help move the UK away from creating virgin plastic, and help reduce the amount of hard-to-recycle plastic waste being unethically disposed of. Marvine Besong, Technical Director at Recycling Technologies, celebrates this new collaboration and the implications of it: “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.”
Many of the Innovate UK funding grants have focused on improving the UK circular economy through state-of-the-art recycling innovations. This grant is amidst a wider trend in the UK of investing into sustainable solutions. The recent UK Plastics Pact has seen a huge development in sustainable practices from the biggest UK companies.