Revolutionary Plastic Recycling Technology Nears Commercial Stage
Jul 24, 2023
Aug 03, 2023
About 430 million metric tons of plastic are produced each year globally, and most of it goes to waste, whether in landfills or littered. Globabally, less than 10 percent of plastic is currently recycled while plastic production continues to increase. Many countries, and companies that operate within them, are signing on to Plastics Pacts, vowing to make significant headway against the problem by eliminating unnecessary plastic packaging, moving forward with recyclable materials, and pushing toward a 50% rate of recycling - all in the next two years.
The fact is that, regardless of how many people commit to recycling plastics across the globe, a high percentage of the plastic manufactured today is not able to be recycled through current technologies. Several younger tech companies, often working in partnership with big oil and plastics producers, have been developing new methods of recycling they hope will create a more circular plastic economy and reduce waste.
One of those innovators is Aduro Clean Technologies, Inc. (CSE: ACT) (OTCQB: ACTHF) (FSE: 9D50). Aduro’s Hydrochemolytic™ Plastics Upcycling (HPU) technology is capable of transforming waste plastic of all types into higher value products like diesel, solvents, and plastics like polyethylene and polypropylene. It all takes place in a water-based chemical environment. Aduro has been working in partnership with Shell (among other organizations) to perfect the technology and bring it to market. That time has come. Considering the global forces aligning to address the plastic waste problem in the very near future, the company’s timing appears impeccable.
Demonstration Unit is Operational
Aduro started in the lab, testing its patented process on increasingly diverse types of plastic and on a steadily expanding scale. While many other new technologies focus on one or two types of plastic, Aduro has found its solution is capable of processing all types of plastic. Importantly, the Hydorchemolytic™ process requires minimal to no sorting or cleaning of its feedstock. The extensive sorting and cleaning required both by current systems and by many emerging technologies is a major hurdle to widespread recycling.
See Aduro Clean Technologies’ CEO Ofer Vicus discuss the reaction the company has been getting from potential customers since introducing Hydrochemolytic™ technology in the last 18 months or so.
Aduro recently announced in a corporate update that its new pilot-scale continuous flow reactor, the R2 Plastic unit, is fully operational and has successfully turned waste polymers into higher-value liquid hydrocarbons. The company is actively engaging with potential customers, now able to test a variety of feedstocks to create the desired end-product for each potential client.
The market for Aduro’s technology is very diverse, and its business model lends itself to a fairly quick ramp. Some emerging companies in the space are committed to building large production facilities and running everything on their own. In contrast, Aduro is licensing its technology to organizations that will build their own facilities. These facilities can be scaled from the hyperlocal up to the regional, opening up the potential market to anyone from small communities to major corporations. It’s a stark contrast to the factory approach, which requires large capital investments to start and a constant supply of high volumes of plastic to continue.
Aduro recently created a European subsidiary, called Aduro Clean Technologies Europe (ACTE). ACTE is the result of an ongoing partnership with the Brightlands Chemelot Campus and Chemelot Innovation and Learning Labs (CHILL), located in the Netherlands. Brightlands Chemelot is Europe’s largest business hub dedicated to advancing a sustainable, circular economy. CHILL is headquartered on the campus, focused on bringing together innovators in chemistry from both industry and academia to create viable solutions to many of the world’s most pressing problems.
Aduro is at its heart a science and chemistry company, and Chemelot’s fertile ground of ideas and expertise and collaboration is a good fit as ACTE looks to gain a foothold in the European market. The partnership mirrors the spirit of other Aduro collaborations, like the one with Shell and the one with Western University. The company is growing quickly but still small, and management recognizes that perfecting and commercializing its patented technology on a global scale requires help from key contributors.
See Aduro Clean Technologies’ CEO Ofer Vicus talk about the next steps in the development and commercialization of the company’s Hydrochemolytic™ technology. These included the construction of a commercial-scale plant and the formation of more key partnerships.
The various Plastics Pacts committed to and enacted around the world point to 2025, just two short years from now, as the deadline for initiating bold measures in the quest to reduce plastic waste and create a more sustainable approach to the global problem. By that time Aduro plans to have its commercial-scale pilot plant fully active, and talks with major players in the industry should be well advanced. Look for announcements along these lines in the coming quarters.
It should be noted here that Aduro’s Hydrochemolytic™ technology is capable of much more than breaking down plastics. The company’s Hydrochemolytic™ Bitumen Upgrading (HBU) business is being advanced concurrently with the plastics side of the operations. Here Aduro is addressing another massive market with disruptive technology that upgrades the heaviest oils to lighter, more usable forms. This upgrading is necessary in order to transport the bitumen, which is the main product of the Alberta oil sands, through pipelines. The benefits of the HBU operation are similar to the HPU side of the business - more efficient, lower emissions, highly scalable, less capital intensive. Look for developments relating to the HBU division in the coming quarters as well.