Australia consumes 3.4 million metric tons of plastic each year, of which 9 percent is recycled, according to a plastics recycling survey by Australia’s Department of the Environment and Energy.
Sydney-based Licella Holdings has announced a partnership with BioLogiQ Inc., a bioplastic resin manufacturer based in Idaho Falls, Idaho, to create a circular economy for plastics by accelerating the commercialization of Licella’s catalytic hydrothermal reactor (Cat-HTR) chemical recycling solution.
After 12 years of developing and testing the technology at its pilot plant near Sydney, Licella is working alongside Australian recycler iQ Renew and BioLogiQ to commercialize the Cat-HTR technology in Australia, while London-based partner Mura Technology will be working alongside BioLogiQ to bring the Cat-HTR solution to China and other parts of the world, according to a company news release.
The Cat-HTR technology can recycle end-of-life plastics, which would otherwise be sent to landfill, back to chemicals they originally came from. The chemicals can then be used to make new plastics.
“At the heart of the Licella and BioLogiQ partnership is a shared vision for a more sustainable future,” says Licella CEO Dr. Len Humphreys. “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.”
The Cat-HTR technology can recycle a blend of postconsumer plastics, including polypropylene, polystyrene, polyethylene and multilayer flexible plastic packaging without the need to sort plastics into a single stream, the company says. The process produces a high yield of oil from the plastic, which can be refined to chemicals to produce new plastics, Licella says.
In Australia, there is the potential to build 20 to 30 commercial Cat-HTR plants, the company says, while Mura's goal is to establish more than 2 million metric tons of Cat-HTR processing capacity by 2030.
With chemical recycling, Licella can also recover and recycle plastic with a renewable feedstock such as BioLogiQ’s NuPlastiQ biopolymer.
BioLogiQ Founder and CEO Brad LaPray says, “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 commercialization of chemical recycling, BioLogiQ takes another big step in its quest to make plastics better.”