Despite over 40 years of research there is currently no commercially viable treatment for bio- and mixed plastic waste at scale. Burning them requires expensive exhaust-gas clean-up (e.g. dioxins) and frequent reactor maintenance (toxic slag build-up). Cat-HTR™ changes this completely: it continuously generates and distils stable end-products, yielding from mixed plastic waste up to 81% liquid hydrocarbons, and 17% gas that in turn fuels the process, without need for external heat input.

After attracting more than A$100m over 13 years, the Cat-HTR™ process has been successfully commercialised by Licella and its joint venture Mura Technology, involving global partnerships with Shell, Canfor (Canada’s largest forestry company), KBR (licensee, one of the world’s largest engineering companies, aiming to roll out in 80 countries), Dow Chemicals (off-taker and cornerstone investor), Mitsubishi Chemicals (licensee) and RenewELP (currently building the first commercial plant in the UK).

A key breakthrough for this technology was my discovery of a novel catalytic reaction cascade, which removes the oxygen in the feed as carbon dioxide, and in parallel liberates the hydrogen that in part stems from the processing medium, water. The hydrogen is incorporated into the products in situ, removing the need for an expensive external gaseous hydrogen source and associated catalysts – stabilising the oils generated, thereby changing a key paradigm in oil processing, yielding IRRs of +35%

Tags: Plastic, recycling, sustainable, circular economy, decarbonisation, sustainability, energy, batteries, renewables, circular economy, gelion, licella