Australia-headed process technology developer Licella Holdings Ltd (Licella) has announced that it has joined forces with US-based bioplastic innovators BioLogiQ, Inc., to accelerate the commercialisation in Australia of Licella's "Cat-HTR" technology to chemically recycle post-consumer plastic that would otherwise not be recycled.
According to the “2017 – 2018 Australian Plastics Recycling Survey – National Report” by the Department of the Environment and Energy, Australia consumes 3.4 million tonnes of plastic each year, of which only 9 percent is recycled. In partnership with BioLogiQ, Licella aims to drive towards a circular economy for plastics by accelerating the commercialisation of Licella’s breakthrough ‘Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor’ (Cat-HTR) chemical recycling solution.
Licella and Australian partner iQ Renew, with the support of BioLogiQ, will commercialise the Cat-HTR technology in Australia, while global partner Mura Technology (Mura) will be working alongside BioLogiQ to bring the Cat-HTR solution to China.
According to Licella, the Cat-HTR technology is able to recycle End-of-Life Plastics (ELP), 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.
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 utilise 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, said Dr Len Humphreys, CEO of Licella.
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 energy recovery.
According to Licella, converting End-of-Life polyethylene (PE) to liquid hydrocarbon products with the Cat-HTR process creates 80-100 percent more value than waste-to-energy (WtE), and produces 45 percent less CO2 emissions.
Unlike techniques such as pyrolysis, the Cat-HTR technology can recycle a blend of End-of-Life Plastics that include 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 percent oil, with the balance as a gas that can be recycled to power the process.
We believe the Cat-HTR technology has 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 commercialisation of chemical recycling, BioLogiQ takes another big step in its quest to make plastics better, said Brad LaPray, Founder and CEO of BioLogiQ.
In Australia alone, there is the potential for 20 to 30 commercial-scale Cat-HTR™ plants. With chemical recycling, Licella can recover and recycle almost all plastic we use today, including plastic with a renewable feedstock such as BioLogiQ’s own innovative NuPlastiQ Biopolymer. Central to the Licella and BioLogiQ partnership is the ongoing support of local and global Cat-HTR commercial partners.
In Australia, Licella’s partner iQ Renew will commercialise the Cat-HTR technology for End-of-Life Plastic, while their partner Mura will bring the Cat-HTR technology to the rest of the world, with a particular focus, alongside BioLogiQ, to commercialise the Cat-HTR technology in China.
With China effectively banning the import of some secondary materials in January 2018, a huge opportunity exists to build Cat-HTR chemical recycling plants to help deal with China’s own massive quantities of post-consumer plastic. By accelerating the Cat-HTR solution globally, this alliance is helping the world deal with the estimated 111 million tonnes of plastic waste that will be displaced by the Chinese import ban by 2030.