University of Nottingham partners with Mitsubishi Chemical to explore microwave acrylic recycling

Monday, 13 September 2021

The University of Nottingham (UoN) is working with Mitsubishi Chemical Corporation (MCC) to explore microwave technology for recycling PMMA (acrylic).

Following agreements announced in 2020 to build a circular economy solution for the material, the new partnership with the university will further support MCC’s goal of identifying a range of complementary PMMA recycling technologies.

“As we work towards building a European recycling plant for PMMA, it is important that we consider all relevant potential technologies. We have already partnered with Agilyx Corporation to use their depolymerisation technology and we are keen to identify additional solutions that could complement the Agilyx process; microwave is one such technology,” said David Smith, Circular Economy Lead, Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates.

“Our aim is to develop the ultimate suite of recycling solutions for our customers, both in terms of efficiency and effectiveness. The partnership with UoN will help us to better understand how microwaves could help us meet this objective.”

“Microwave technology offers great potential to improve the quality of recycled product and enable further options for its reuse in PMMA manufacture, and will reduce the net energy usage.”
Dr John Robinson, from the Low Carbon Energy and Resources Technologies research group

“Working in partnership with Mitsubishi Chemical Methacrylates, we aim to develop a microwave process that will enable the use of renewable energy sources and reduce the overall number of steps required for PMMA recycling,” said Dr Eleanor Binner, Associate Professor, also from the University’s Faculty of Engineering.

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More information is available from Dr John Robinson on or Dr Eleanor Binner on or +44(0)115 514092 or Emma Lowry, Media Relations Manager (Engineering) on


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Notes to editors:

The University of Nottingham is a research-intensive university with a proud heritage. Studying at the University of Nottingham is a life-changing experience and we pride ourselves on unlocking the potential of our students. We have a pioneering spirit, expressed in the vision of our founder Sir Jesse Boot, which has seen us lead the way in establishing campuses in China and Malaysia - part of a globally connected network of education, research and industrial engagement. Ranked 103rd out of more than 1,000 institutions globally and 18th in the UK by the QS World University Rankings 2022, the University’s state-of-the-art facilities and inclusive and disability sport provision is reflected in its crowning as The Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2021 Sports University of the Year. We are ranked eighth for research power in the UK according to REF 2014. We have six beacons of research excellence helping to transform lives and change the world; we are also a major employer and industry partner - locally and globally. Alongside Nottingham Trent University, we lead the Universities for Nottingham initiative, a pioneering collaboration which brings together the combined strength and civic missions of Nottingham’s two world-class universities and is working with local communities and partners to aid recovery and renewal following the COVID-19 pandemic.

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