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Issue 01/2020

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  • Bioplastics
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Highlights: Automotive Recycling Cover Story: Biobased Fur

Recycling Chemical

Recycling Chemical recycling post-consumer plastic Licella and BioLogiQ join forces to accelerate commercialization of Cat-HTR technology Australia consumes 3.4 million tonnes of plastic each year, of which only 9 % is recycled [1]. Licella Holdings (North Sydney, New South Wales, Australia), global technology pioneer, recently announced a partnership with BioLogiQ (Idaho Falls, Idaho, USA), bioplastic innovators, to drive towards a circular economy for plastics by accelerating the commercialization of Licella’s breakthrough Cat-HTR (‘Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor’) chemical recycling solution. Licella and Australian partner iQ Renew (North Sydney), with the support of BioLogiQ, will commercialize the Cat-HTR technology in Australia, while global partner Mura Technology (London, UK) will be working alongside BioLogiQ to bring the Cat-HTR solution to China. 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. Licella CEO, Dr. Len Humphreys, said, “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.” 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 (CO 2 ) 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 CO 2 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 % oil, with the balance as gas that can be recycled to power the process). BioLogiQ Founder and CEO, Brad LaPray, said of the partnership, “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.” 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 commercialize the Cat-HTR technology for End-of-Life Plastic, while their partner Mura will bring the Cat-HTR technology to the rest of world, with a particular focus, alongside BioLogiQ, to commercialize the Cat-HTR technology in China. With China effectively banning the import of foreign waste 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 metric tons of plastic waste that will be displaced by the Chinese import ban by 2030 [2]. MT | References: [1] Department of the Environment and Energy 2019. 2017–18 Australian Plastics Recycling Survey – National report; files/resources/3f275bb3-218f-4a3d-ae1d-424ff4cc52cd/files/australianplastics-recycling-survey-report-2017-18.pdf [2] Brooks A, et al. 2018. The Chinese import ban and its impact on global plastic waste trade. Science Advances Vol. 4, no. 6 sciadv.aat0131 Info See a video-clip at: https://vimeo. com/290621271 38 bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/20] Vol. 15

Recycling Sustainable technology company Anellotech (Pearl River, New York, USA) is significantly expanding its program with Plas-TCat TM , a new process technology aiming to convert a wide range of plastic waste directly into chemicals – which can then be used to make new, virgin plastics. 95 % of plastic packaging material is annually lost to the economy after a single use [1] and often ends up in combustors, landfills or polluting the ocean. By leveraging Anellotech’s existing Bio-TCat process – which converts biomass into bio-based chemicals and biofuels – Plas-TCat has demonstrated encouraging results in lab studies using pure plastics. Plas-TCat has the potential to offer a new, costeffective process which will recycle significant quantities of waste plastics directly into commodity chemicals. Once in the recycling system, waste plastics could be converted into commodity chemicals such as olefins, alkanes and aromatic chemicals, which are identical to their petro-based counterparts which are currently used by manufacturers to make virgin plastics. Anellotech wants to develop Plas-TCat so it could convert the majority of plastic materials used today, including composite films. Anellotech aims to use its Bio-TCat lab and TCat-8 ® pilot systems to feed in plastics waste, eventually developing and designing a commercial plant to efficiently make commodity chemicals at large scale, using the same basic process configuration. Anellotech has expanded its development program, which is expected to last several years. The company has planned studies to ensure that the Plas-TCat process is robust and capable of running long term, on a range of real-world waste plastics feedstocks, with all the impurities that come with them. Anellotech’s TCat-8 pilot plant extensively ran 24/7 with biomass and the company expects it to do the same with plastics. “Plas-TCat has the potential to transform plastic waste such as composite films, mixed plastics and plastics with biomass – such as paper labels – directly into valuable chemicals. It can handle oxygenated polymers, an important advantage over pyrolysis processes that produce complex oil mixtures which require upgrading and additional conversion in steam crackers,” said David Sudolsky, President and CEO of Anellotech. “With potentially high yields of valuable products, we are keen to use Plas-TCat in areas where plastic waste collection is not enforced and collection infrastructure to isolate waste plastics streams is currently lacking. By allowing payment for waste plastic, Plas-TCat provides economic incentives to tackle plastics pollution, especially in developing countries where much of the ocean plastic pollution originates. We are excited about this new venture and are seeking engagement with knowledgeable strategic partners to provide development funding, as well as knowledge in waste plastics supply chain and mechanical handling, to help accelerate this project.” MT Recycling plastic waste into chemicals Anellotech aims to convert large volumes of mixed waste plastics... ...widely used today in packaging and other products Plas-TCat TM Anellotech’s Vision Efficient, economic, large-scale recycling of mixed waste plastics ...directly into the same valuable chemicals (using new technology Plas-TCat)... ...that manufacturers buy to produce the plastics... [1] N.N.: The New Plastics Economy: Catalysing action https://www. bioplastics MAGAZINE [01/20] Vol. 15 39

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