GeneratER program identifies innovative waste recycling technology

13 July 2022

Innovative WA-based chemistry business, Epichem, has secured a recycling pilot with Shell Australia to help reduce plastic waste from its operations and supply chains.

The pilot has been made possible through NERA’s GeneratER program, delivered in partnership with the Western Australia (WA) Government.

GeneratER is dedicated to identifying opportunities to connect specialist SMEs to larger industry operators. The Epichem pilot will assist Shell in improving plastic recycling across its operations in Western Australia, Queensland and the Northern Territory, using a unique circular economy waste recycling solution that converts plastics into reusable products.

NERA joined forces with Shell Australia to identify WA-based businesses with innovative solutions to segregate plastic from co-mingled waste. Epichem’s unique solution turns waste into recyclable products by using restorative and regenerative design solutions, eliminating the need to send waste to landfill and also creating new commercial opportunities.

NERA CEO Miranda Taylor said GeneratER addresses genuine industry challenges and fosters a collaborative environment of innovation, while attracting solutions from world-class technology providers who, like Epichem, have identified applications for their services across multiple sectors.

“The GeneratER program goes to the heart of NERA’s ethos, which is to create connections for growth. That’s why NERA designed the GeneratER program to form invaluable connections between the small businesses who have high-impact solutions and larger companies who need them, making it easier for companies to innovate together.

“Without programs such as GeneratER, it can be difficult for SMEs to get a foot in the door with major companies. For Epichem, GeneratER provides an opportunity to showcase the far-reaching potential of its solution. The impact of winning this pilot cannot be understated.”  

Shell Australia’s GM Supply Chain, Ashley Bates, said the GeneratER program has enabled Shell to identify new recycling solutions and partner with local businesses that can help address their business challenge.

“We are pleased to be a part of NERA’s GeneratER program, working with companies like Epichem to further develop technologies with the potential to help Shell actively reduce waste across our Australian operations.

“The program has provided a platform for Shell to connect with innovative local companies simply and effectively.”

Epichem will help Shell by using a process that liquefies plastic, changing its chemical structure to make it biodegradable or able to be repurposed into another end-product. This solution has application across other industries and sectors where plastic waste is prevalent.

Epichem’s Head of Production, Dr James Rixson, said the GeneratER process has provided invaluable access to a global business such as Shell.

“GeneratER enables us to demonstrate our technology on a real-world industry challenge. It is a vital stepping stone on our commercialisation journey.”

Epichem’s Project Lead, Madian Jinzarli, added: “We are excited to progress to the pilot phase of the program and demonstrate our technology’s application in the energy resources sector.”

The pilot is anticipated to be completed in early October 2022. The GeneratER program has been running since 2021 and has so far connected three pilots with two major operators, and more opportunities are in the pipeline.