Chemicals are involved in almost every industry, and form a key part of modern daily life, from transport fuel and plastics to batteries, cooking oils and cleaning products. But in some cases, the processes involved in creating or using chemicals can be highly wasteful, or result in unwanted pollution and problems with disposal and recycling.
Some unwanted effects include:
Air pollution from diesel fuels used in cars and trucks – in a 2016 report the UN estimated that more than 4.5m people died prematurely in Asia and the Pacific alone from air pollution, and diesel soot is a strong contributor to greenhouse gases
Processing of food oils such as vegetable or palm resulting in high levels of waste
High costs of the type of fast-response energy storage needed to make renewable energy viable, as well as increased risks from battery fires.
Green Lizard Technologies (GLT) was set up with international partners to help bring new chemistry research out of the lab and into industry, to provide green and sustainable solutions to some of these challenges.
About the company
Green Lizard Technologies was set up in 2015 as a spin-out company of Queen’s University Belfast, and focuses on developing solutions to the world’s most immediate industrial challenges, and bringing those solutions to commercial reality as fast and effectively as possible. The company has won multiple awards for its work, including the iChemE Malaysia and Global Awards, the Akzo Nobel Imagine Chemistry Challenge and the Rushlight Sustainable Manufacturing and Services Award.
We develop everything with industrial partners, so our IP is a hugely significant asset in order to attract investment and partnerships.
Professor Martin Atkins, CTO at Poseidon Plastics (one of Green Lizard’s business units)
Some of GLT’s key projects include:
A novel technology developed to recycle all types of waste PET plastic (used in many plastic bottles). This enhanced recycling technology has been shown to be robust in removing all impurities, and the upcycled PET plastic produced has properties similar to the new plastic made from fossil fuels.
A method of processing waste plastics films/bags and packaging into high-quality naphtha, which is then used by petrochemical plants to make fresh polymers. This closes the loop in plastics packaging.
Creating and commercializing a novel patented technology to produce “green glycidol” from environmentally friendly, sustainable sources to compete with existing oil and gas derived products.
Creating a new method of manufacturing DMC (dimethyl carbonate), an additive which eliminates more than 80 percent of particulates from the emissions of diesel vehicles while giving a 10 percent improvement in engine efficiency. The additive has been in use in China for over 3 years and will soon be rolled out in Malaysia.
A novel direct biomass (green and woody wastes) process has demonstrated that fuel can be produced for less than USD1.80 per gallon. This is a first of its kind technology and aimed at taking all green wastes to valuable low carbon fuels.
The company has found intellectual property (IP) protection invaluable in allowing it to fund and commercialize its technologies, while still contributing to global know-how in key areas.
“We develop everything with industrial partners, so our IP is a hugely significant asset in order to attract investment and partnerships,” says Martin Atkins, CTO at Poseidon Plastics (one of Green Lizard’s business units). “The introduction of the UK Patent Office’s Green Channel has been a real help to us on some of the leading-edge climate change technologies, such as DMC, and gets us to grant a lot quicker.”
Green Lizard works with partners across the world to develop and commercialize its technologies, including UK producers of PET (DuPont/Teijin), Abundia/Panima investors, major packaging companies, oil/energy companies and the Yashentech Corporation in China. In partnership with others, GLT is currently entering a feasibility study in UK for DMC production from CO2, and the use of DMC as a valuable chemical and electrolyte in lithium batteries in addition to its fuel benefits. The company has also been recognized for its contribution in promoting the science and technology partnership between the UK and China.