The UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) Interdisciplinary Centre for the Circular Chemical Economy brings together stakeholders from academia, industry, government, NGOs and general public to transform the UK’s chemical industry into a fossil-independent, climate-positive and environmentally-friendly circular economy. As part of a £22.5 million strategic government investment, it will play a key role in helping the UK to reduce waste and the environmental impacts of production and consumption, and will create opportunities for new UK industries.
It also involves more than 20 industrial and international partners, ranging from multinationals such as ExxonMobil, Shell and Unilever to SMEs and national and local initiatives, including the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP).
The ambition of the Centre is to transform the UK’s £32 billion chemical industry into a future-proof, fossil-independent and environmentally friendly circular industry by developing sector-wide solutions for the efficient recycling and recovery of olefins and their complementary feedstocks. Olefins, such as ethylene and propylene, account for over 70% of all organic chemical production, used for the synthesis of a wide range of intermediate products, including polymers, chemical fibres, solvents, synthetic rubber and high-value speciality chemicals. These intermediates are subsequently used by other manufacturing and industrial sectors to produce useable end products.