Chemical recycling of end of life plastics with hydrothermal upgrading

Client Name
ReNew ELP Ltd
Teesside, UK
  • Safety advisory


ReNew ELP is currently constructing the world’s first commercial-scale plant to use the HydroPRS™ patented hydrothermal upgrading technology for the chemical recycling of end of life plastics in Teesside, UK. The HydroPRS™ process uses supercritical water to break the carbon to carbon bonds in waste plastic, donating hydrogen to form shorter chain, stable hydrocarbons. The output from the process is passed through a distillation column, resulting in the following saleable chemical products for use in the manufacture of new plastics and other materials:

  • Naphtha
  • Distillate Gas Oil
  • Heavy Gas Oil
  • Heavy Wax Residue (similar to bitumen)

In addition, a process gas is produced which is re-used to power the process.

ReNew ELP sought SLR's support in classifying this process with the Environment Agency.


SLR provided initial opinion as to how the ReNew ELP process could be categorised by building a compelling case that the process was chemical manufacturing/ recycling rather than a waste operation. This involved assessing all potential classifications and developing robust justifications as to why the process should be classified as chemical manufacturing.

We then held a pre-application meeting with the Environment Agency and ReNew ELP to discuss our proposed classification, which the EA accepted. Following this, we compiled the permit application documents and supporting reports for submission to the EA.


The permit application was submitted in March 2020 and the final permit issued in November 2020.