ORLANDO, Fla.—Would a Tesla-type success story in chemical recycling bring in capital and help speed up that industry's development?
That was one of the questions put before the audience at a recent American Chemistry Council conference, where an industry crowd looked at what it will take for the nascent technology to become a regular part of the recycling landscape.
Some sympathetic investors on a panel argued that the advanced recycling sector, also called chemical recycling, would benefit if a Tesla- or Airbnb-like success story emerged from its ranks.
It would help sway skeptical investors and policymakers with a tangible example of how the technology can work, proving the case that it should get more funding and support, they said.
"We've seen this in other industries, not to use the obvious examples, but (consider) Tesla and Airbnb," said Bridget Croke, managing director of green investment firm Closed Loop Partners. "If we can have one winner like this that becomes the dot, dot, dot of (advanced recycling), so everybody else can grow behind that, I think that would be a huge boon.
"I don't think we're at that point yet in the innovation curve where we understand how the whole system is going to work," she said. "Some of it won't unlock until we get a few successes. But I do think that we need to have a couple of big wins for all the rhetoric around the challenges (to change). The challenges will still be there, (but) they just won't be the top of the conversation."