Australian waste-to-energy technology exported to the Philippines

Friday, 03 November, 2023

Australian waste-to-energy technology exported to the Philippines

Australian climate technology start-up Cyclion has confirmed its first commercial project in the Philippines, beginning with a 50-tonne-per-day plant that will transform municipal waste into fuel or energy. The booming waste-to-energy market is expected to surpass $68 billion annually by 2030 and Cyclion said it is poised to receive its share of the market after years of research and development to create its waste-to-energy technology.

Through a partnership with the National Development Company (NDC) in the Philippines, Cyclion will be rolling out 18 of its waste-to-energy modules in Manila by the end of 2026, followed by a national rollout including Quezon City and Caloocan City.

The Brisbane-based startup has identified South East Asia as the key area for its first waste-to-energy plant, with nearly a third of the world’s waste dumped throughout the region. According to the National Solid Waste Management Commission, Quezon City is capable of producing 2.76 million tonnes per day of waste, while Manila and Caloocan City can produce 1.15 million tonnes per day and 1.23 million tonnes per day, respectively.

“Cyclion falls well within NDC’s investment criteria of pioneering, developmental, inclusive, sustainable and innovative. We are positive about our potential collaboration,” said Antonilo DC. Mauricio, General Manager of the NDC.

“We are very fortunate to be partnered with the NDC and this partnership is a big step to fulfilling our vision of taking household rubbish and converting it into energy in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner,” said Philip Major, Founder and CEO of Cyclion. “The partnership will utilise our proprietary catalysts and processing technology to tackle a global issue and we’re thrilled to have partnered with an organisation that shares our vision and belief in technology being good for the planet as well as being financially sustainable.”

The two parties have signed a letter of intent, and the NDC has fast-tracked the projects to bring Cyclion’s technology to the Philippines as soon as possible. Cyclion’s waste-to-energy technology is deployed as modules that can be moved and redeployed to new areas as needed.

Cyclion’s system works like a washing machine, taking mixed waste and running it through various catalytic cycles. At each cycle, the waste is liquified and degraded until, in the end all that is left is inorganic matter — solid glass or metals — that can be separated and recovered. What has been degraded becomes an oil that can then be further processed as fuel or used to generate electricity.

The project is set to cost around US$105 million and will be rolled out in three phases:

  • Phase 1: Construction of a 50 tonne/day waste-to-energy plant, set to begin construction in 2024 for operation and fuel and energy production by early 2025.
  • Phase 2: Launching four more 50 tonne/day modules by the end of 2025, plus peripheral treatment facilities.
  • Phase 3: Construction and rollout of an additional 13 modules, each of which can process 50 tonnes/day. These will come online as installed and the whole project is set to be fully operational through 2026.

Taking into account the high moisture content of the rubbish, each of the 50-tonne plants can generate 326 litres of diesel fuel per hour, or 7824 litres per day per 50-tonne per day module. This is enough fuel to fill the petrol tanks of 130 cars. Once all three projects are completed, Cyclion will be able to process 900 tonnes of waste per day across the Philippines to produce over 52 million litres of fuel per annum.

Cyclion’s technology utilises proprietary catalysts designed to convert mixed waste materials such as plastics and organic waste into energy using a new technology referred to as the Cyclion Catalytic Fluid (CCF) method. The process liquifies plastics and organic rubbish without pre-treatment to convert it into fuel or electricity.

Traditionally, there is normally a significant amount of pre-treatment required, which typically relies on heat energy to dry the waste and mechanical energy to shred it, and then primarily using heat or pressure to convert it into something useful. The Cyclion technology does not burn the rubbish but rather soaks it in a special catalyst, enabling the liquefaction to occur at a relatively low temperature of 310°C and atmospheric pressure.

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