Ever since the development of a ground-breaking technology, Australian start-up Licella has been in the midst of gaining new contracts with investors worldwide.
The technology enables the re-imagining of the large pulp and paper sector as bio-refineries and the advancing of end-of-life, tough-to-recycle plastics, thereby enabling waste to be converted into recycled or renewable fuel blend-stocks.
One of the top Canadian pulp and paper producers, CanFor plans to invest adequate amount of funds for a full-scale commercial operation that will convert the resource-intensive paper and pulp sector by turning biomass waste into a petroleum replacement, biocrude. It is also referred to as bio-oil and will be equipped to enter into the current petrochemical refinery streams to produce renewable fuels and/or chemicals.
The announcement came one day after Licella signed a $10m joint venture contract with Renewable Chemical Technologies, a UK company supported by the UK's top renewable energy company Armstrong Energy, to develop a one-of-a-kind plant to transform end-of-life plastic that ends up in landfill. Additional data bout this ground-breaking UK plastic recycling project is available on the School of Chemistry website.
Licella is a science-based renewable energy start-up co-founded by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer. The start-up has created an innovative method in collaboration with the University of Sydney - the Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR™) technology. It can be used to convert inexpensive, non-edible, waste biomass into a consistent bio-crude oil.
Professor Maschmeyer, Director of the new Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST), earlier announced an $11m investment into another start up of his called Gelion Technologies, to create rechargeable battery technology based on nanostructured gels.
Professor Maschmeyer's most recent joint venture, with top Vancouver-based paper manufacturer Canfor Pulp Products (CPPI) called CanFor, will construct commercial-scale biocrude plants that are combined with the adjacent pulp and paper factories to significantly strengthen the economics.
After the Cat-HTR™ technology is successfully integrated, the Licella Pulp joint venture will determine providing this solution to other third party pulp mills.
Using the whole tree and not just a minor part will move the industry towards biorefining.
Licella CEO Dr Len Humphreys
Professor Maschmeyer added: "In the pulp and paper industry worth billions of dollars, this shift will have global impact for good."
The probability for other operations taking on cost-effective feasible conversion of sawdust and pulp/paper byproducts into bio-oil was important, as waste is currently burnt for poor quality process heat.
Only 30% or so of a tree becomes paper, the rest is waste - we use this waste to make a new product - biocrude oil from renewable, already aggregated waste.
Professor Maschmeyer, Director of the new Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology
"After nine years of very hard work by an amazing team of individuals at Licella and the University, it is extremely pleasing to see this Australian green technology going global; it will make a substantial impact."
The University is delighted to have played a part in supporting Licella to reach this milestone - a partnership that is flourishing and that shows Australian capabilities in the best possible light on the global stage.
Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence
CanFor President Brett Robinson said the Cat-HTR™ technology was a good fit for their pulp mill. "The opportunity to directly produce advanced biofuels from our existing streams could transition Canfor Pulp from being strictly a pulp and paper manufacturer to a bio-energy producer as well," he said.