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Hydrothermal upgrading

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Technology Description

This process uses water under supercritical conditions to crack carbon bonds within end-of-life plastic, thus breaking down polymers into shorter chain hydrocarbons.

Relevance for Net Zero

Improved recycling would help reduce the need for virgin production and can reduce downcycling in which a material is recycled into a lower value end. However, behavioural barriers also need to be overcome to increase plastics collection rates, and secondary production is unlikely to ever fully replace the need for primary production.

Key Countries

Australia, UK

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