In a bid to become the world’s first plastic neutral country, Timor-Leste and Mura Technology will establish a Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR) plant on the island nation.
A memorandum of understanding standing was signed by Timor-Leste and Mura Technology at the University of Sydney last week.
Cat-HTR is a patented hydrothermal upgrading technology that uses water under high temperature and pressure to chemically recycle waste plastic back into oil.
Mura will establish the $40 million chemical recycling plant via a new not-for-profit organisation, RESPECT, at no cost to the people of Timor-Leste.
Mura Technology is a joint venture between The University of Sydney’s spin-out company Licella Holdings and power supplier Armstrong Energy.
Cat-HRT co-inventor Professor Thomas Maschmeyer said one Cat-HTR plant has the potential to convert Timor-Leste’s entire plastic waste stream into valuable petrochemicals – enabling self-sustaining operations.
“We are thrilled to be involved in this project to provide technology to Timor-Leste, where it will have a huge and positive impact,” Dr Maschmeyer said.
“It could allow Timor-Leste to become the first ‘plastic-neutral’ country in the world, which means no used plastics will enter the environment as waste but will instead be recycled into new products.”
Licella Holdings CEO Dr Len Humphreys said Cat-HTR is a highly efficient technology with the ability to handle virtually all plastic waste.
“Cat-HTR is much better equipped to handle plastic waste than current systems as it converts all types of plastic waste into high-value products in only 20 minutes,” Dr Humphreys said.
“This has multiple benefits, such as the reduction in costs for waste producers due to material re-use, reduced landfill and less plastic in our oceans.”
All financial surpluses from the plant will be returned to support community initiatives, as well as developing livelihoods for waste collectors.