The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) report which benchmarks three thermal advanced plastic recycling technologies against waste to energy and mechanical recycling in terms of carbon emissions.
The European Commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) has published a Life Cycle Assessment report which benchmarks three thermal advanced plastic recycling technologies against waste to energy and mechanical recycling in terms of carbon emissions.
The report highlights that all forms of plastic recycling are preferable to energy recovery (or Energy from Waste).
“Recycling (mechanical, physical or chemical) is preferable to energy recovery in all pathways analyzed, notably for mixed polyolefin waste currently not mechanically recycled, because the environmental savings from energy recovery are not sufficient to compensate for the environmental impacts from waste incineration and the related CO2 emissions.”
With respect to the three advanced recycling processes investigated, the JRC’s report shows that hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) technology – referred to in the report as CR(III) – has a global warming potential that is ~ 50% lower than the other advanced recycling process (pyrolysis).
Licella’s pioneering Cat-HTR™ platform has been pioneering the field of hydrothermal liquefaction for over 15 years. It is at the core of six advanced plastic recycling facilities currently under development around the world, including Licella’s own facility under development by Advanced Recycling Victoria (ARV) in Melbourne, Australia.
Licella operate a Cat-HTR™ commercial demonstration facility in Somersby on the NSW Central Coast (Australia), which supports the advanced recycling facilities under development globally, including by its global partners Mura Technology.
HTL was also shown to be the best performing for ‘resource use’ across mechanical, chemical and energy recovery processes, indicating highest yield of hydrocarbon products that displace the virgin fossil equivalents.
The JRC’s findings demonstrate that Licella’s pioneering Cat-HTR™ platform complements mechanical recycling by processing residual plastic waste streams that cannot otherwise be recycled mechanically.
Importantly, the report highlights that to achieve a circular economy for mixed, post-consumer plastic, technologies need to be efficient, scalable and achieve the highest value with the lowest environmental impact. In this way, HTL is the best in class advanced plastic recycling technology for a world striving to achieve net zero carbon.
Cat-HTR™ is pioneering technology for lower carbon future.
The JRC report is available in full online here: https://publications.jrc.ec.europa.eu/repository/handle/JRC132067
Citation: Garcia-Gutierrez, P., Amadei, A.M., Klenert, D., Nessi, S., Tonini, D., Tosches, D., Ardente, F. and Saveyn, H., Environmental and economic assessment of plastic waste recycling A comparison of mechanical, physical, chemical recycling and energy recovery of plastic waste, Publications Office of the European Union, Luxembourg, 2023, doi:10.2760/0472, JRC132067.
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