In Australia, Licella and bioplastic innovators BioLogiQ agreed a deal to accelerate the commercialization of Licella’s Cat-HTR (‘Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor’) chemical recycling solution. The Cat-HTR technology is able to recycle End-of-Life Plastics, which would otherwise be sent to landfill, back to the chemicals they originally came from. These chemicals can then be used to make new plastics, a truly circular solution for post-consumer plastic.
And in China, Mura Technology Limited inked a partnership with BioLogiQ to accelerate the commercialization of the Cat-HTR in China.
Unlike techniques such as pyrolysis, the Cat-HTR technology can recycle a blend of End-of-Life Plastics that includes polypropylene, polystyrene, soft plastics (low density PE) and multilayer flexible plastic packaging, without the need to sort plastics into a single stream. This process flexibility increases the total quantity of plastic that can be recycled and therefore the process economics. The Cat-HTR™ process produces a high yield of oil from plastic (around 85% oil, with the balance as gas that can be recycled to power the process).
Chemical recycling with the Cat-HTR technology plays an essential role in transitioning to a circular economy for plastics, helping to close the loop by recycling previously non-recyclable plastics. Chemical recycling supports the established waste hierarchy, with significant carbon (CO2) emission reductions compared to Waste to Energy (incineration). In fact, converting End-of-Life PE (polyethylene) to liquid hydrocarbon products with the Cat-HTR process creates 80-100% more value than Waste to Energy, and produces 45% less CO2 emissions.
Licella has spent the past 12 years developing our proprietary hydrothermal upgrading platform, the Cat-HTR (Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor). Our Cat-HTR technology has been extensively tested over a range of renewable biomass and End-of-Life Plastic at our large scale continuous-flow pilot plant on the NSW Central Coast, an hour north of Sydney, Australia. The synthetic oil from the Cat-HTR™ process can be refined to chemicals to produce new plastics, used to produce more sustainable fuels and waxes, and has applications including road base and low sulfur marine fuels. With over AU$75M invested in the Cat-HTR™ platform, it is now commercial-ready.
Reaction from the stakeholders
“At the heart of the Licella and BioLogiQ partnership is a shared vision for a more sustainable future. By pioneering a circular solution for all plastics, we can utilize the massive amount of plastic already in circulation as a resource, preventing plastic from leaking into the natural environment, reducing our need for fossil oil and significantly reducing carbon emissions.” Licella CEO, Dr Len Humphreys, said.
BioLogiQ Founder and CEO, Brad LaPray, said of the partnership “We believe the Cat-HTR™ technology cracked the code of scalable, efficient and economical chemical recycling. This collaboration represents an investment in our future. BioLogiQ customers will know they are supporting a bioplastics company that is as seriously committed to recycling as themselves. By accelerating and supporting the commercialization of chemical recycling, BioLogiQ takes another big step in its quest to make plastics better.”
In Australia alone there is the potential for 20 to 30 commercial-scale Cat-HTR™ plants. With chemical recycling, we can recover and recycle almost all plastic we use today, including plastic with a renewable feedstock such as BioLogiQ’s own innovative NuPlastiQ biopolymer.
“Mura and BioLogiQ have a shared vision for a plastic neutral future. Today, only a portion of plastic waste can be mechanically recycled. The rest goes into the ocean, incineration or is landfilled at great expense. Meanwhile, we have to harvest fossil oil out of the ground to make new plastics. Our Cat-HTR plants will turn any plastic waste into synthetic oil that can be used to make new plastics, waxes and chemicals. Around the world, legislation is being introduced to drive towards a circular economy. This all sets the tone for the future of the chemical recycling industry globally.” Mura CEO Dr Steve Mahon said.