Multimillion-dollar funding for commercial waste-to-biofuel plants

May 31, 2016

It's been a busy few days for Australian start-up Licella, whose innovative technology, developed in partnership with the University of Sydney, is the subject of new contracts with global investors that allow the re-imagining of the huge pulp and paper industry as biorefineries and the upgrading of end-of-life, difficult-to-recycle plastics - turning waste into renewable or recycled fuel blend-stocks.

At the weekend, leading Canadian pulp and paper producer CanFor revealed it will invest funds sufficient for a full-scale commercial operation that will transform the resource-intensive pulp and paper industry by turning biomass waste into a petroleum substitute, biocrude. Also known as bio-oil, it will be ready to go into existing petrochemical refinery streams to generate renewable fuels and/or chemicals. The Canadian announcement came a day after Licella signed a $10m joint venture contract with UK company Renewable Chemical Technologies Limited - which is backed by the UK's leading renewable energy company Armstrong Energy - to build a world-first plant to convert end-of-life plastic destined for landfill. More information about this innovative UK plastic recycling project is on the School of Chemistry website.

Licella, a science-based renewable energy start-up co-founded by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer, has developed a unique process in partnership with the University of Sydney - the Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR™) technology - to convert low-cost, non-edible, waste biomass into a stable bio-crude oil.

Professor Maschmeyer, who is also the director of the new Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST), last month announced an $11m investment into another of his spin-offs, Gelion Technologies, to develop rechargeable battery technology based on nanostructured gels.

Professor Maschmeyer's latest joint venture, with leading Vancouver-based paper manufacturer Canfor Pulp Products Inc (CPPI) known as CanFor, will build commercial-scale biocrude plants that are integrated with the adjoining pulp and paper plants to greatly uplift the economics. Upon successful integration of the Cat-HTR™ technology, the Licella Pulp joint venture will investigate offering this solution to other third party pulp mills.

Licella CEO Dr Len Humphreys said: "Using the whole tree and not just a minor part will move the industry towards biorefining."

Professor Maschmeyer added: "In the pulp and paper industry worth billions of dollars, this shift will have global impact for good.".

The potential for other operations taking on economically viable conversion of sawdust and pulp & paper byproducts into bio-oil was significant because currently waste is burnt for low-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 said.

"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."

Vice-Chancellor Dr Michael Spence said: "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."

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.
-end-
Further details: CanFor pulp and paper joint venture media release online; Renewable Chemical Technologies Limited plastics web story on the School of Chemistry website via http://www.sydney.edu.au.

University of Sydney

Related Technology Articles from Brightsurf:

December issue SLAS Technology features 'advances in technology to address COVID-19'
The December issue of SLAS Technology is a special collection featuring the cover article, ''Advances in Technology to Address COVID-19'' by editors Edward Kai-Hua Chow, Ph.D., (National University of Singapore), Pak Kin Wong, Ph.D., (The Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA) and Xianting Ding, Ph.D., (Shanghai Jiao Tong University, Shanghai, China).

October issue SLAS Technology now available
The October issue of SLAS Technology features the cover article, 'Role of Digital Microfl-uidics in Enabling Access to Laboratory Automation and Making Biology Programmable' by Varun B.

Robot technology for everyone or only for the average person?
Robot technology is being used more and more in health rehabilitation and in working life.

Novel biomarker technology for cancer diagnostics
A new way of identifying cancer biomarkers has been developed by researchers at Lund University in Sweden.

Technology innovation for neurology
TU Graz researcher Francesco Greco has developed ultra-light tattoo electrodes that are hardly noticeable on the skin and make long-term measurements of brain activity cheaper and easier.

April's SLAS Technology is now available
April's Edition of SLAS Technology Features Cover Article, 'CURATE.AI: Optimizing Personalized Medicine with Artificial Intelligence'.

Technology in higher education: learning with it instead of from it
Technology has shifted the way that professors teach students in higher education.

Post-lithium technology
Next-generation batteries will probably see the replacement of lithium ions by more abundant and environmentally benign alkali metal or multivalent ions.

Rethinking the role of technology in the classroom
Introducing tablets and laptops to the classroom has certain educational virtues, according to Annahita Ball, an assistant professor in the University at Buffalo School of Social Work, but her research suggests that tech has its limitations as well.

The science and technology of FAST
The Five hundred-meter Aperture Spherical radio Telescope (FAST), located in a radio quiet zone, with the targets (e.g., radio pulsars and neutron stars, galactic and extragalactic 21-cm HI emission).

Read More: Technology News and Technology Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.