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Positive results in our recycling purification trials

As part of our project to make acrylic fully circular, we recently ran purification trials for methyl methacrylate (MMA) recycled from waste acrylic (PMMA).

Background

Circular MMA can be made by a process called molecular recycling, where acrylic (PMMA) is broken down by depolymerization to MMA. However, until now, no technology has existed to do this safely and reliably, using mixed feedstock, or that can produce MMA to the high purity required to meet customers’ expectations.

Results

After proving that molecular recycling is possible on a large scale with our technology provider, Agilyx, using a variety of feedstocks (coloured and clear PMMA, extruded and cast PMMA, with post-industrial and post-consumer waste) we recently completed refinement trials to test the purity of the final product. The purification process worked so effectively at removing contaminants that the result was recycled MMA with the same purity as virgin MMA.

David Smith, Circular Economy Lead, says:

“This is a very positive result. At the start of the project, we set ourselves a stretching goal of being able to produce circular MMA from recycling waste PMMA with the same level of purity as virgin MMA. Thanks to the hard work of our project team and partners, we have successfully achieved this. We are now finalising the definition of this technology to support a first-in-class commercial scale plant in Europe.”

Read more updates from this project

·       Mitsubishi Chemical and Agilyx announce successful trial results for advanced recycling collaboration

·       How can molecular recycling transform the acrylic industry?

Right: MMA crude from PMMA recycled at the facility of our partner, Agilyx. Left: purified, virgin-quality MMA following our refining process.