New U.S. Program to Promote Circular Economy for Plastic
Oct 03, 2023
Oct 03, 2023
New Tech Requirements Offer Investment Opportunity
The United States Department of State recently announced a new program called End Plastic Pollution International Collaborative (EPPIC) with $15 million in initial funding. The program is a public-private partnership that supports projects worldwide to make the entire lifecycle of plastic more sustainable. EPPIC is just the latest initiative from the US government, complementing the Save Our Seas Initiative and the Clean Cities Blue Ocean programs run by the US Agency for International Development.
Between the three initiatives, the US government has committed about $166 million to promote a circular economy for plastic. Around the globe, countries have been signing on to Plastics Pacts, and 175 nations have agreed to develop a legally binding agreement on plastic pollution by 2024, prompting a significant step towards reducing greenhouse gas emissions from plastic production, use and disposal.
The global push to reduce plastic pollution requires, in large part new technical innovations that can recycle plastic of all types effectively. Current technologies suffer from a number of shortcomings, including high cost, intensive energy requirements, unattainable sorting and cleaning needs, inability to recycle many types of plastics, and undesirable CO2 emissions. The search is on for more adaptive, scalable, lower-cost answers, and technology upstarts are starting to introduce possible solutions.
One small public company at the heart of the movement is Aduro Clean Technologies, Inc. (CSE: ACT) (OTCQB: ACTHF) (FSE: 9D50), a Canadian company with a water-based technology, the Hydrochemolytic™ (or HCT) platform, that checks all of these boxes. The company is in the pilot stage, working with partners like Shell to prove the HCT technology at scale for the looming deadlines imposed by the plastics pacts and UN treaties.
The Advantages of HCT
Watch Aduro Clean Technologies CEO Ofer Vicus discuss the advantages of HCT technology for recycling plastics.
The problem with current plastic recycling is largely driven by the wide variety of plastics, their unique chemical compositions, the need to sort all of the types from each other, and the issues contaminants such as food waste and labeling present. Add in the fact that plastic recycling with current technology is energy- and heat-intensive, making it environmentally and economically impractical in many cases, especially in sparsely populated areas, and you have a quagmire of barriers to widespread recycling.
Aduro’s water-based HCT platform offers solutions for almost all of these issues. Here is a list of the benefits of HCT for plastic recycling.
Chemically recycles plastic by using water as the medium and cellulose, ethanol, and glycerol as chemical agents
Operates at lower temperatures than traditional technologies, resulting in less energy use
Has lower OPEX and CAPEX than existing systems
Works with all types of plastics
Is highly scalable, small or large
Does not need governmental subsidies to make it economically viable
Is capable of converting waste plastic to gas, liquid, or solids
Timing is Everything
The timing of Aduro’s commercialization efforts is synchronized with the timeline pushed by global initiatives. The UN treaty effort will culminate with a legally binding agreement in 2024. The various international plastics pacts, signed onto by a significant majority of multinational companies, are pointing to 2025 as the year for concrete actions.
Aduro anticipates completing its six-phase participation in the Shell GameChanger program by the end of the year, having recently passed the halfway mark. The program is designed to speed Aduro’s path to commercialization, and Shell has promised investment of both money and expertise to help perfect and advance Aduro’s solution. To date there has been no formal announcement of an investment, but the two companies have completed 3 of the 6 phases of the program, with the balance wrapping up in Q4 this year. This engagement is focused on turning waste polyethylene and polypropylene into Naptha Cracker feedstock to produce second-generation plastics.
Meanwhile, Aduro’s pilot-scale continuous flow HCT plastic reactor (R2 Plastic) is undergoing commissioning test runs and is expected to be fully licensed and operational by the end of the year. R2 Plastic allows Aduro to demonstrate capabilities to potential customers and test the system with particular feedstocks and end-product requirements.
The company recently appointed a Chief Revenue Officer, industry veteran Eric Appelman. In his most recent capacity, Mr. Appelman held the position of Business Development Director and Chief Technology Officer at Brightlands Chemelot Campus in the Netherlands. This campus has transformed into a hub for over 100 diverse companies, each committed to innovating sustainable processes and products within the chemical industry, including areas like mechanical and chemical recycling. Brightlands and Aduro are partnered to build a pilot-scale reactor in Europe to serve as a customer engagement tool for that continent.
Aduro’s Future is Now
The coming quarters represent an inflection point for Aduro Clean Technologies. The company spent the last several years quietly developing and perfecting its technology, utilizing a mix of partnerships, grants, and smart non-dilutive funding to reach its commercialization stage. With the pending completion of the Shell GameChanger program, the full launch of its pilot-scale reactor, and the appointment of a global leader in charge of sales, Aduro is signalling to stakeholders and potential investors that now is the time for the next development phase. Watch for further news, and keep an eye on this innovative upstart.