Waste plastic bottles

Plastics recycling goes global with KBR-MURA commercial partnership

15 January 2021
Recycling tech co-developed at Sydney propelled onto world stage
Removing plastic from oceans and landfill is a major environmental and social problem. Technology jointly developed by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer is making solutions to this problem possible. Today it goes global with a major commercial partnership.

Professor Maschmeyer explains how the technology works

Technology jointly developed at the University of Sydney is central to a global partnership that will deliver end-of-life plastics recycling solutions across the planet.

Mura Technologies in the United Kingdom has entered a commercial partnership with KBR, a global science and engineering firm, to deliver Cat-HTR™ plastics recycling technology to industrial and government customers in more than 80 countries.

Mura is the British licensee of the Cat-HTR™ process, which is owned by Australian company Licella Holdings, jointly founded by Professor Thomas Maschmeyer from the University of Sydney Nano Institute and School of Chemistry.

Professor Maschmeyer was last year awarded the 2020 Prime Minister’s Prize for Innovation in recognition of his outstanding commercial translational science in plastics recycling and renewable energy storage with battery technologies.

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer.

Professor Thomas Maschmeyer.

Professor Maschmeyer said: “This partnership is a terrific shot in the arm not only for the company I helped found, but more importantly for finding truly global solutions to deal with the mountains of plastic waste created every day. It’s a wonderfully positive start to 2021 for the environment.”

Licella’s Catalytic Hydrothermal Reactor (Cat-HTR™) platform uses supercritical water to economically convert waste plastics, otherwise destined for landfill, into oil to produce fuels, chemicals and new plastics - helping to unlock a circular economy for all plastic.

Licella, Mura’s largest single shareholder, created the Cat-HTR™ platform technology alongside company co-founder Professor Maschmeyer. The company has been strongly supported by the University of Sydney during its journey from start-up to global technology innovators.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research) Professor Duncan Ivison said: “It is wonderful to see that our more than 12 years of multi-disciplinary support for this innovative technology has helped facilitate this partnership of global importance.”

Licella co-founder, chief executive and Cat-HTR™ co-inventor, Dr Len Humphreys, commended Mura on its progress towards a global-roll out of Licella’s breakthrough technology.

“Licella is delighted by the news of the partnership between Mura and KBR, a truly world-class commercial partner. Through this global partnership, KBR demonstrates its confidence in both Mura and our Cat-HTR™ technology, as an environmentally responsible solution to transform plastic back into a valuable and reusable resource,” he said.


The University of Sydney is not a Licella shareholder but has had many commercial agreements with the company covering all aspects of technology translation. Licella Holdings, owner of the Cat-HTR™ recycling platform, is a privately held company.

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