PharmAust subsidiary Epichem to advance ‘world first’ waste-to-fuel conversion technology

PharmAust ASX PAA Epichem Thermaquatica for the Oxidative Hydrothermal Dissolution technology
PharmAust describes the flow reactor technology as a “world first”, noting it can potentially convert a “wide range” of waste and feedstock into fuel and useful end products.

PharmAust’s (ASX: PAA) subsidiary Epichem has inked a licencing deal that will see it research, develop and promote a disruptive flow reactor technology that converts waste to fuel.

Thermaquatica founder and chief technology officer Ken Anderson developed the technology.

Epichem is licencing the technology from Thermaquatica and will advance its oxidative hydrothermal dissolution technology using biomass/feedstock flow reactor material science.

The companies say the benchtop flow reactor under development will be carbon neutral and environmentally sustainable. The flow reactor will use oxygen and water at high pressure and temperature to break down feedstock into “useful” end products.

Under the agreement, Epichem is required to pay a US$25,000 initial licence execution fee and an additional US$125,000 annual fee.

The agreement is for an initial five year term and can be automatically renewed up to four additional three year periods.

‘World first’ technology

PharmAust describes the flow reactor technology as a “world first” with the potential to turn a “wide range of waste” and biomass feedstock into “valuable fuels”, chemicals, growth stimulants for agriculture and ethanol.

According to PharmAust, the technology has the potential to convert plastics into renewable fuels; coal into diesel; agricultural biostimulants; rubber tyres into liquid fuels or chemicals; trees into cellulosic ethanol or fine chemicals; and leftover stock or crops into liquid fuel.

Additionally, the technology used in the flow reactor could also be used to refine the carbon storage in soil process and may have applicability in the resources sector.

Epichem chief executive officer Colin La Galia said there were many things the flow reactor appears to be able to convert.

“We are eager to learn more of its capabilities and applications.”

“The flow reactor could make a significant contribution to the capability to deal with waste and produce diesel, liquid fuels, biofuels, liquid fertilisers and biostimulants,” Mr La Galia added.

Government initiatives to eliminate waste

Mr La Galia pointed out in Australia there are government policies at every level to minimise organic waste ending up in landfill.

The Western Australian Government recently awarded Epichem with a $200,000 WasteSorted e-Waste grant, with the company also seeking funding and grants from other government agencies and avenues.

“[The technology] has the ability to support and sustain industries, provide innovative, disruptive technology in Australia, can be scaled up for a range of industry partners and create employment opportunities in Western Australia and Australia,” Mr La Galia said.

“Epichem welcomes the opportunity to work in partnership with Thermaquatica and share our technology, science and chemistry capability and expertise to develop this potential high impact technology,” he added.

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