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Independent, Academic LCA Highlights 80% Carbon Savings Versus Incineration for Mura’s Process

2 March 2023


New independent academic analysis shows an 80% reduction in climate impacts compared to incineration by processing waste plastic via HydroPRS™.

The peer-reviewed Life Cycle Assessment (LCA)1 published by Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick reports that significantly reduced carbon emissions (measured as Global Warming Potential (GWP(2) CO2eq)) can be achieved if waste plastic is diverted towards HydroPRS™ and away from waste incineration – the comparable end of life treatment and currently the fate of many ‘unrecyclable’ plastics.

Advanced (or chemical) recycling technologies include a range of processes that break plastics down, converting them into hydrocarbon products that can replace the virgin fossil feedstocks used by the chemicals industry to create new plastics and other industrial products such as asphalt.

Pioneered by Mura Technology, HydroPRS™, unlike pyrolysis, utilises supercritical water to convert post-consumer flexible, multi layered and rigid plastics into high yields of stable, premium petrochemical feedstocks. Importantly, the products produced in the HydroPRS™ process were found in the LCA to have equivalent to lower GWP when compared with naphtha, the fossil oil-based feedstock used in the production of plastics.

Dr Steve Mahon, Mura Technology’s CEO, said:

Resolving the global plastics crisis while reducing carbon emissions globally will inextricably require that the world is able to substitute fossil-based naphtha and other hydrocarbons for more sustainable feedstocks. This is Mura Technology’s ultimate goal, and our innately scalable, innovative advanced recycling process using supercritical water is uniquely placed to pave the way to enable a low-carbon, global circular plastics economy.

Currently, the fate of unrecycled waste plastics is landfill, incineration or leakage into our environment, waterways, and oceans, and which all have negative impacts. Whilst incineration recovers some energy from plastic, none of these processes keep material within the circular economy, but which in turn sustains the demand for virgin plastic from fossil-based sources.

The LCA is based on data from Mura’s first commercial scale HydroPRS™ plant at Wilton, Teesside, UK. The LCA also explores the benefits of reducing GWP of the recycled hydrocarbon products by taking advantage of renewable energy supplies, heralding a pathway for making plastic production Net Zero(3).

The paper also highlights the importance of generating clear and scientifically robust data and analysis of advanced recycling, which aligns to the ‘transparency’ expectations in the WWF Chemical Recycling Implementation Principles(4) which Mura strongly supports.

Mura’s Chief Sustainability Officer, Dr Geoff Brighty, added:

As the global economy transitions away from fossil fuels, circular economies must operate at as low an environmental cost as possible. Alongside using the LCA to identify process improvements, the WMG team have demonstrated a clear, deliverable pathway to Net Zero for the HydroPRS™ process. This will help Mura decarbonise the petrochemical sector, whilst also reducing demand for fossil oil for plastic production by regenerating plastic waste into their feedstocks.

Following the publication of these initial results, further work is now underway to assess the benefits of process improvements, as well as site specific LCAs for Mura’s ongoing infrastructure developments in the UK, United States and Germany.

The LCA is also consistent with the findings of the EU Commission Joint Research Centre’s recent advanced recycling LCA study(5), published in February 2023, to which Mura Technology contributed data, with HydroPRS™ being one of the technologies evaluated alongside pyrolysis and energy recovery.

The LCA was funded through Innovate UK’s Smart Sustainable Plastic Packaging challenge(6) (SSPP), as part of their Demonstrator Programme.

Read the full report here.


1 Ozoemena, M and Coles S, (2023) Hydrothermal treatment of waste plastics: an environmental impact study. Journal of Polymers and the Environment.,

2 Global warming potential (GWP) is the heat absorbed by any greenhouse gas in the atmosphere, as a multiple of the heat that would be absorbed by the same mass of carbon dioxide. GWP is 1 for CO₂.

3 Net Zero refers to 100% negating the amount of greenhouse gases produced by human activity through a combination of reducing GHG emissions and absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

4 WWF 10 Principles for Chemical Recycling:

5 Environmental and economic assessment of plastic waste recycling. A comparison of mechanical, physical, chemical and energy recovery of plastic waste. Joint Research Centre. ISSN 1831-9424.

6 SSPP project reference 49801


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