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January 22, 2020

Worn Again pilot R&D facility to push polymer recycling

Polymer recycling technology firm Worn Again Technologies has launched its pilot R&D facility as a major step forward in its development process.

By Michelle Russell

Polymer recycling technology firm Worn Again Technologies has launched its pilot R&D facility as a major step forward in its development process.

The pilot, based in Redcar in the UK, will be used to develop further process data, knowledge and understanding to enable the business to set the technical parameters and scale the engineering design, as a step to industrialisation.

It is designed to validate and develop Worn Again Technologies’ proprietary process, which separates, decontaminates and extracts PET polymer and cellulose (from cotton) from non-reusable textiles and PET bottles and packaging to go back into supply chains as raw materials to become new products as part of a continual cycle.

The purpose of the plant is to develop further process data, knowledge and understanding to enable the business to set the technical parameters and scale the engineering design, as a step to industrialisation. The Centre for Process Innovation (CPI) was chosen as a facility to host the plant in view of the technical excellence it provides to help accelerate technologies to market.

“The pilot is a significant step in developments as it will allow us to confirm and further optimise the different steps in the process in one unit, accelerating our engineering development to the next step of a demonstrator plant,” said Nick Ryan, Worn Again Technologies’ technology director.

Cyndi Rhoades, founder of Worn Again Technologies, adds: “It is exciting to have progressed our developments from lab to plant. While there is still a long road ahead, it’s the next tangible step getting us closer to a scalable, commercially viable industrial process that will enable the move away from using finite virgin resources to the circularity of raw materials.”

Worn Again Technologies was founded in 2005 and has the support of partners like H&M and Kering. In 2018, the company was awarded a grant to become the first chemical recycling technology to be Cradle to Cradle (C2C) certified.

The team, coordinated by Worn Again Technologies’ chief scientific officer, Dr Adam Walker, began working with CPI on the commissioning of the pilot in Q4 2019. Experimentation will include testing of the process using various inputs to understand the yield and quality impact on the product.

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