DEECOM®lite by Longworth

Low impact reduction, reclamation and reuse of plastics and composites/polymers

About Us

Our story begins in 2004, when engineers at our sister company B&M Longworth (Edgworth) Ltd received patent protection for their invention DEECOM®, a revolutionary method for cleaning high value industrial stainless steel (st st) filters using steam to depolymerise polyester melt and reclaim a pristine filter for multiple re-use. DEECOM® changed the way our customers handled component cleaning by discarding of the need for solvents such as harmful and costly tri-ethylene glycol (TEG) and was low in energy use and environmental impact, running off steam and emitting only water vapour.

In 2010, while working with Prof Peter Millington of UMIST we found that a side benefit of this process was the reduction of the plastic waste by volume of up to 98% and were advised to explore other applications for the technology.

After successful research trials for Boeing in 2011, we were advised to file for a 2nd patent in various regions worldwide, based on the use of this technology for waste management. We affectionately call this IP DEECOM®lite

Late 2017 saw the first patent granted in China, followed over the next three years by remaining countries and regions around the world.

And so, in 2018-19 came the partnerships with carefully selected industry leaders and institutions we needed for the true R&D of our world-beating technology, along with another couple of patents pending.

What’s Next?

Commercialisation | Scale-up | Routes to market | Investment opportunities

We’re constantly looking for the next challenge, both environmentally and for our technology. If you have a challenging waste stream, want to plan for end of life or create polymer waste you’d rather have re-used, we’d love to hear from you.

Looking to invest in green technologies?
Our alternative and Industry 4.0 leading technology is available to you through;

Investment in our R&D | Paid trials | IP licensing | IP purchase

What is DEECOM®lite?

“DEECOM®lite is a low energy, low impact, clean process with capabilities of reducing the waste plastic and composite issues across a wide range of industries.”

DEECOM®lite is a patented process, requiring a clean water supply and power (usually fuel or a gas boiler but can also be electric) in order to create high temperature, low pressure ‘clean’ steam in a pressure vessel environment. The sequence of compressions and decompressions (hence the name) over time create a ‘molecular earthquake’ and shatter the molecular chain of plastics, rubber and resin composites (in the case of polyester from 220 molecules into 12s and 20s), effectively breaking down the polymer and (reverting to) the original monomers, which is then easier and faster to biodegrade.

What happens then?

Whilst a low-grade ‘waste’ output, valorisation to aide recycling and re-use is also possible in some cases with the help of our chemists’ catalyst capabilities.

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Read our 2004 patent for DEECOM®

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Read our 2012 patent for DEECOM®lite

Countries benefitting from DEECOM® clean technology include:

Our Partners

We’re very lucky to work with some of the best in field specialists from across the industries that we affect. A few of the ones we’re allowed to talk about include;

Fields of Use:

Carbon Fibre Reclamation for Recycling

Carbon Fibre cannot be landfilled due to the risk to human life should it enter our ecosystems. The widely accepted form of disposal is burning, or pyrolysis, which weakens the fibres rendering them low grade and unsuitable for aerospace or automotive applications, but remanufacture to lower grade composite e.g. sports equipment or seating, is possible.

DEECOM®lite allows for recycled carbon fibre, to be reclaimed without burning or weakening, allowing for the reprocessing and remanufacture into high grade items with demands for safety and strength, meaning less demand for virgin carbon fibre manufacture, a lower carbon footprint and the possibility of a circular economy.

In 2010 Boeing approached us to undertake trials for using DEECOM®lite to process sections of carbon fibre fuselage in a bid to remove the resins and reclaim the carbon fibres. Our results were sent to Clemson University in South Carolina for verification, who reportedly found the fibres to be of ‘pristine tensile strength and all but identical in characteristic to virgin fibres’

Contact us to view the report from Clemson

Since then, progress has been made via funding from Innovate UK to enable further trials, lab analysis and verification. In an exciting development, we’re now actively working with our partners on the demonstration of reprocessing, re-manufacture and comparison. From pre-preg to end of life components – the future (and the future’s future); could very well be carbon.

Plastics and polymers

The enemy is not plastic. It is the plastic waste that leaks into the environment and going forward significant change is needed to address this.” British Plastics Federation 2020

Our decades of working with different polymers, often with challenging or potentially dangerous contaminants, has taught us how to handle commonly used plastics such as polyester, blown film, latex and polypropylene. DEECOM®lite can achieve reduction by volume of up to 98%* meaning that mountains of plastic waste can be reduced and the remaining 2% either landfilled to biodegrade faster, or preferably given another purpose. Whilst we are able to significantly reduce this ‘waste’ by volume, we’d rather it was then given a new lease of life!

*A test in 2011 carried out on an oil drum full of used 500ml polyester bottles of drinking water, contaminated with a cobalt colourant, with and without screw caps and calculated by Longworth engineers to have reduced to 2% of the original volume post- DEECOM®

Plastic bottles can also be sterilised and returned to their ‘pre-form’ shape using DEECOM®lite technology

Glass Reinforced Plastic

We’re currently looking for research partners and investors to support our activities in GRP recycling activities. Contact j.hill@bmlongworth.com with enquiries

Plasticised and coated textiles

carpets | fast fashion | technical fabrics | flame retardant fabrics

We’re pleased to be working with our partners at University of Manchester on our active KTP (Knowledge Transfer Partnership), part-funded by Innovate UK, a Government scheme intended to promote sustained and mutually beneficial relationships between universities and industry.

Through this KTP, the University of Manchester and Longworth are developing and optimising new uses for the company’s capabilities in polymer waste reduction and monomers/oligomers reclamation using steam, to enable the company to enter new waste treatment markets.

This is a hugely important project for Longworth with significant environmental and sustainability outcomes.

Medical & Single Use Care Items

Absorbent Hygiene Products (AHP) are used widely in the NHS, proviate medical and all care sectors, including at-home care. This makes up for a colossal amount of clinical and ‘offensive’ waste sent to landfill or incineration each year in the UK alone. These products, inc medical mats, pads, sanitary products, nappies and urostomy/colostomy bags are made of layer upon layer of plastics and complex super absorbent polymers (SAP) which is valuable and can, thanks to DEECOM®lite be reclaimed in a safe, clean and reusable manner.

We’re currently looking for research partners and investors to support our activities in SAP recycling activities. Contact j.hill@bmlongworth.com with enquiries.

Latest News

Longworth shortlisted for three national industry awards

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