For a smaller company developing potentially revolutionary technology, a partnership with a giant of the industry could have a number of benefits. Such a relationship could serve to accelerate the timeline to commercialization; it could refine and improve the technology in ways not previously contemplated; it could validate the technology throughout the industry; and it could provide a ready-made major client in the form of the partner.

All of these things and more are on the table following the recent announcement that Aduro Clean Technologies Inc. has been selected to join the Shell GameChanger program. Aduro is ramping up to the commercialization stage with its Hydrochemolytic™ platform technology, a patented water-based system that has been demonstrated to greatly improve the plastic recycling process. Shell is committed to financing the joint development program in an accelerated one year time frame that has the potential to greatly hasten and improve Aduro’s commercialization process.

Shell GameChanger Program

Shell started the GameChanger Program in 1996 as a means of encouraging start-up development. In 2021 the company introduced its Powering Progress business strategy, with the goal of using the GameChanger Program to guide and accelerate the company’s transition to net zero emissions. The idea is to partner with innovative tech companies that are evaluated on four main criteria:

  • Novelty: is your technology fundamentally different and unproven?
  • Value: could your technology create substantial new value if it works?
  • “Why Shell?”: is your technology relevant to Shell and the energy future?
  • Testing: can the concept be proven quickly and affordably? Is the right team in place to deliver this?

Companies submit applications and make their way through a few rounds of screenings and presentations before the winners develop a 12-18 month timeline for the program in concert with in-house Shell experts. The goal is to make tangible and accelerated progress toward improvement and commercialization of innovative technologies with the benefit of Shell’s financing and experience in all phases of development.

How Aduro Clean Technologies Fits

Recognizing that a circular economy for plastics would go a long way toward reducing emissions, Shell chose Aduro to participate in the accelerator program. Aduro is already on the verge of completing a reactor project to prove the Hydrochemolytic plastic recycling process can work in a continuous flow setting. Dubbed R2, this reactor will serve as a customer engagement unit where Aduro can test and prove capabilities to various potential client specifications.

Following R2, the R3 phase will consist of a much larger, pilot-scale project designed to prove the commercial viability of the technology. Aduro already has an agreement in place to develop an R3 project with Switch Energy in Ontario, for recycling of agricultural waste polyethylene plastics into high value products.

The Shell agreement is focused on providing sustainable Naphtha Cracker feedstock from polyethylene, polypropylene, and polystyrene, individually or on a mixed basis. One of the beauties of Aduro’s technology is its ability to process a wide variety of plastic feedstocks. Shell and Aduro are embarking on an aggressive 12 month program to prove this ability through the various stages of reactor development, starting from small scale batch reactors, moving through a continuous flow reactor and into the design basis of commercial style facilities. The project is devised to support the rapid movement of the process to commercialization while reducing the developmental risk for the technology.

With as much as 80% of the world’s plastic considered to be unrecyclable due to the variety of plastic types and the presence of contaminants, Aduro’s Hydrochemolytic platform has the potential to completely change the plastic industry. Compared to existing technologies, It operates at a greatly reduced temperature, can process a much wider range of plastic types, and can handle higher contaminant levels in the feedstock.

With Shell’s non-dilutive financing, storehouse of expertise, and established accelerator program on its side, Aduro has the chance to leap forward much more quickly to its full commercialization phase than it had previously planned. Beyond acceleration, the partnership has the potential to greatly refine Aduro’s technology, validate the platform throughout the industry, and open doors to potential clients that may have been difficult to access without the Shell relationship.

“We are thrilled that our Hydrochemolytic Technology was selected by the Shell GameChanger team. The Aduro team is working diligently to bring this disruptive technology to market and to contribute to plastic circularity in support of the energy transition. The network access, market intelligence, and technical expertise by a global chemical manufacturing market leader and innovator like Shell will play a critical role in advancing our goals. We are very pleased to start the project and are truly appreciative of the professionalism, support, and vote of confidence from the Shell GameChanger experts”, commented Ofer Vicus, Chief Executive Officer of Aduro.

Aduro Clean Technologies was already a company to keep an eye on, steadily advancing a potentially game-changing plastic recycling technology. The new partnership with Shell shines an even brighter light on the company and the vast opportunities that lie before it. It should be a very interesting 2023 for Aduro and its stakeholders.

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