03/08/2021 - 16:11

PharmAust hits milestone in waste-to-fuel technology

03/08/2021 - 16:11

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ASX-listed PharmAust Ltd subsidiary Epichem OHD has hit a milestone in its development of technology to turn waste into fuel on an industrial scale, after the company completed the build of a benchtop scale reactor that will enable research, development and promotion of its potentially disruptive technology. The reactor turns biomass waste from a wide range of sources into fuels, fertiliser, agricultural growth stimulants and even ethanol.

PharmAust subsidiary Epichem sees wide commercial application for its waste-to-fuel technology. Credit: File

ASX-listed PharmAust Ltd subsidiary Epichem OHD has hit a milestone in its development of technology to turn waste into fuel on an industrial scale, after the company completed the build of a benchtop scale reactor that will enable research, development and promotion of its technology. The reactor turns biomass waste from a wide range of sources into fuels, fertiliser, agricultural growth stimulants and even ethanol.

Epichem OHD is working on the innovative Oxidative Hydrothermal Dissolution, or “OHD” flow reactor at its purpose-built laboratory at Technology Park in the Perth suburb of Bentley. OHD is a breakthrough technology that the company hopes can capitalise on favourable policies at the local, State and national level around cutting the amount of organic waste going to landfill.

Epichem OHD is a 100 per cent owned subsidiary of PharmAust, a Perth-based technology biotechnology company that is developing an anti-cancer drug for both humans and dogs.

It uses oxygen and water at high temperatures to break down the input materials and turn them into useful end products. The process is carbon neutral and environmentally sustainable according to Epichem.

The company sees a wide range of potential applications for the process, including turning plastics into renewable fuels, coal into diesel or agricultural bio-stimulants, rubber tyres into liquid fuels or valuable chemical products, tree waste into cellulosic ethanol and leftover crop material into liquid fuel.

The technology could also be used to enhance the process of carbon storage in soil, and may also have application in minerals recovery.

Epichem says it is in discussions with several mining and fertiliser companies about using the OHD technology.

Epichem Chief Executive Officer Colin La Galia said: “We are very encouraged to achieve this milestone of having the OHD benchtop flow reactor set up and operational. Now we move to the next stage of evaluating its potential. We are eager to learn more of its capabilities and applications.

“The flow meter has the potential to help deal with converting and repurposing waste. It has the ability to create a new and innovative disruptive technology in Australia, can be scaled up for a range of industry partners, and create employment in WA and Australia.”

The company says the technology could create new revenue streams from its use in removing organic waste, converting waste to a useful end product and reducing landfill.

Epichem secured a WA Government grant of $200,000 in January 2021 under the New Industries Fund to research ways of minimising the growing problem of disposal of electrical and electronic waste and reducing the amount of this e-waste material going to landfill.

The company says it is continuing to seek government funding support and grants to help advance its various initiatives.

 

Is your ASX-listed company doing something interesting? Contact: matt.birney@businessnews.com.au

 

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