On Friday 17th May, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed by Mura Technology Limited and the Government of Timor-Leste during a ceremony at The University of Sydney to create a new Cat-HTR™ plant. This exciting and historic ceremony aims to make Timor-Leste the first country in the world to be plastic-neutral.

Cat-HTR™ (Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor) works by using water at supercritical level as the ‘agent of change’, breaking down the hydrocarbon bonds within end-of-life plastics, and turning them back into the feedstocks from which they were made, including process gas, naphtha, diesel, vacuum gas oil and heavy wax residue.

The Cat-HTR™ technology was co-developed in Australia by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer of The University of Sydney, and developed commercially by Licella Holdings. Mura Technology Limited is a joint venture between Licella Holdings and Armstrong Energy of the UK. Plastic Oceans UK has also recently signed a Memorandum of Collaboration with Mura Technology.

Mura will develop the chemical recycling plant via their not-for-profit organisation RESPECT, which will not require any financial contribution from Timor-Leste. Profits from the products created at the plant will go back into community projects and initiatives, as well as providing an income for regulated waste collectors, groups and workers. These funds can help provide clean drinking water and resources to schools, provide low-cost energy and improve sanitation.

Around 67 tonnes of waste plastic arrives into port every day at Timor-Leste, damaging water quality and marine life in the area –  the new Cat-HTR™ plant will be able to process about twenty thousand tons of plastic waste annually. By turning all of the plastic waste back into feedstocks, this will both clean up the plastics currently polluting the environment and ensure no further plastics go back into the environment, resulting in a circular economy.

Demetrio do Amaral de Carvalho, Timor-Leste’s Secretary of State for the Environment, said:

“This is an exciting collaboration for us. Not only will it make a big difference in plastic waste reduction and reduce harm to our cherished marine life, but Timor-Leste can be an example to the rest of the world about what this technology can achieve and the benefits it will have for the planet”.

Alongside Mr De Carvalho, also present were His Excellency Mr Abel Guterres, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Timor-Leste to Australia, New Zealand and Republic of Fiji, and Mr Helio Casimiro Guterres, President of the Institute of Petroleum and Geology in Timor, whilst the ceremony was hosted by the University’s Vice-Chancellor and Principal Dr Michael Spence.

Cat-HTR™ co-inventor Professor Thomas Maschmeyer of Licella Holdings and The University of Sydney, said:

“Cat-HTR™ is something of which we are very proud. We are thrilled to be involved in this project with our partners to provide this technology to Timor-Leste, where it will have a huge and positive impact.”

Jo Ruxton, CEO of Plastic Oceans Foundation UK, said:

“This will be a really valuable program, not just for the people of Timor-Leste, but also to share the knowledge and technologies to other countries and islands globally, as we tackle ocean plastic pollution.”



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