15th February 2021

Innovate UK backs £1.2M project to further develop chemical recycling technology

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Innovate UK backs £1.2M project with Recycling Technologies, University of Birmingham, University of Surrey, and Cranfield University to further develop chemical recycling technology in the UK

Recycling Technologies, a specialist plastic recycling technology provider, the University of Birmingham, the University of Surrey, and Cranfield University announce they have received backing from Innovate UK’s Smart ‘open grant funding programme’ for a £1.2m project to enhance and improve the efficiency of chemical recycling technology in the UK.

The research project aims to further develop and enhance the RT7000, a machine manufactured by Recycling Technologies which converts waste plastics into Plaxx, a recycled feedstock which can be used to manufacture new plastic. The parties will work together on developing an online monitoring system which will predict and control Plaxx® quality based on input composition and process conditions. This collaboration will result in reduced running costs and improved efficiency for the RT7000 and in turn will speed up the development of commercial chemical recycling benefitting the environment by reducing the need to incinerate, bury or export residual plastic waste.

Birmingham, Surrey, and Cranfield are leading academic and engineering institutions who have been individually working with Recycling Technologies on its cutting-edge technology. This project will bring together their expertise and skills to accelerate a solution which will help solve one of the biggest global problems and ensure a more sustainable future for the planet.

Marvine Besong, Technical Director at Recycling Technologies said, “Recycling Technologies is delighted to have received this grant from Innovate UK’s far-sighted Smart programme to invest in the best game- changing and commercially viable and innovative disruptive ideas. 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.”

Gary Leeke, Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Birmingham said, “Birmingham has been working in the chemical recycling of plastics for the past nine years. A team of academics and researchers are excited to support the development of Recycling Technologies Ltd commercial chemical recycling plant. The team involves academics from Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy and Materials who are working with the wider project team to control the quality of the Plaxx product and improve plant efficiency. Technology development of this kind is key supporting the transition from a linear to a circular economy for plastic waste.”

Professor Rex Thorpe of the Department of Chemical and Process Engineering at the University of Surrey said, “I have been pleased to support this company in its goal to create a process that turns plastic waste into a valuable feedstock for the future chemical industry; this grant enables me to spend more time and resources on that support.”

Joy Sumner, Senior Lecturer in Energy Materials at Cranfield University said, “This is a fantastic chance to bring Cranfield’s materials degradation know-how to practical application, helping Recycling Technologies as they design and construct plant for recycling plastics into usable products.”


About Recycling Technologies

UK-based company, Recycling Technologies, is on a mission to accelerate the evolution of plastic into a more sustainable material. Currently, 88% of the plastic used in the world is either buried, burned or leaked into the environment1. This means that the world recycles only 12% of the 359 million tons of plastic produced each year2. Recycling Technologies has developed an innovative technology, the RT7000, which turns hard-to-recycle plastic such as films, bags, laminated plastics into an oil, called Plaxx®, used as a feedstock for new plastic production. The RT7000 is modular and small-scale, designed to fit easily onto existing waste treatment and recycling sites, providing a scalable solution to recycle waste plastic anywhere in the world. For further information, please visit

1 McKinsey&Co – How plastics-waste recycling could transform the chemical industry
2 Plastics Europe – Plastics the facts 2019

About the University of Birmingham

Founded in 1900, the University of Birmingham is one of the leading research-based universities in the United Kingdom; the breadth of research expertise is a distinctive characteristic of the University. Birmingham is 87th in the 2021 QS World University Rankings, cementing its position in the top 100 universities globally and placing us 13th out of the UK universities to feature in the ranking. The Schools of Chemical Engineering and Metallurgy in Materials are both in the top 5 ranked Schools according to the 2020 Guardian League Table. See engineering/index.aspx and for more details.

About the University of Surrey

The University of Surrey is one of the UK’s top higher education institutions, with 125 years of academic heritage since our founding in Battersea, and over 50 years of world-class teaching and research in Guildford. The University’s diverse range of world-leading research has been recognised by four Queen’s Anniversary Prizes for Further and Higher Education. As a global University, we are proud of our strong partnerships with internationally leading institutions and businesses, while being firmly engaged with our local community in Guildford and Surrey. We are committed to educating the next generation of professionals and leaders, and to providing thought leadership and innovation to address global challenges and contribute to a better tomorrow for the world.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management. One key theme is energy and power. Our expertise includes low carbon energy supply, power generation, advanced fossil fuel technologies and transport systems. Our teaching and research cover advanced mechanical engineering, offshore renewables, oil and gas engineering, the production and clean utilisation of fossil fuels, combustion and power generation through to bioenergy and the use of wastes as fuel. We have long-standing partnerships with Alstom Power, BP, Centrica, Chevron, Doosan Babcock, Dong Energy, Petrofac, Rolls-Royce, Shell, Siemens and many others.


Recycling Technologies
Lisa Zafferani Marketing & Communication Manager
t. +44 1793 827 965

University of Birmingham
Gary Leeke Professor of Chemical Engineering School of Chemical Engineering Edgbaston
Birmingham B15 2TT UK
t: 0121 414 4977

University of Surrey
Dalitso Njolinjo Communication office
t: +44 (0)1483 300800

Cranfield University
Joy Sumner Senior Lecturer in Energy Materials
School of Water, Energy and Environment
Building 52, Cranfield University, Cranfield, Bedfordshire MK43 0AL
t: +44 (0) 1234 75 4029

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