Circular Economy

Plant trial success for depolymerising PMMA

As one of the world’s leading producers of PMMA – and its building block, MMA – we owe it to our customers to lead the way in creating a circular economy for acrylic and use the power of methacrylates to create a brighter world for future generations while helping to protect and sustain planet earth.

The technology for recycling end-of-life acrylic comes from our partner, Agilyx in the USA at their facility in Tigard, Oregon. Agilyx already has a proven technology to break the polystyrene polymer down to its styrene building block. The process for breaking PMMA down into MMA is exactly the same.

In 2020, a small-scale laboratory trial of this technology was successful enough for us to set our sights further and plan a full production-scale plant trial. This trial was delivered in August 2021 and the results have, again, been very successful.

In fact, they were consistent with the results of the earlier laboratory trial. We included both cast and extruded PMMA sheets as feedstock and analysed different temperature settings to find the best conditions for the process.

The crude MMA produced during the trial is being distilled at our pilot plant in Wilton, UK, and will be used both for internal product development and to validate the purification solution we’ll be using when our process is fully up and running.

“The trial results at full production scale are very encouraging,” said David Smith, Circular Economy Programme Lead. “The teams at both MCM and at Agilyx worked very well together and all parties are excited at the prospect of launching the new plant using the Agilyx technology.”

left-right: Chris Faulkner, Chief Technology Officer, Agilyx; Nick Hjalmarsson, New Business Development Technologist, MCM; Carsten Larsen, Chief Commercial Officer, Agilyx; Martin Whelan, VP Business Development Europe, Agilyx; David Smith, Circular Economy Programme Lead, MCM; Adam Clarke, Circular Economy Technical Lead, MCM

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