Raised on a landfill dump, Dan is using microwave technology to break down plastics

Dan grew up in Cairns surrounded by waste. His dad ran a local landfill business for building and demolition industries, and from a young age, Dan always wondered if there was a better way to reuse or recycle, especially plastic waste. When Dan found himself running the business when his dad fell ill, his interest turned to whether micro-wave technology could be the answer to attacking plastic on a small-scale, local level.

Dan says the use of micro-wave technology could be exactly what regional and remote communities are looking for to reduce the big cost of managing waste. Having a small-scale local process would allow those communities to generate energy and reduce transportation costs, and he sees his technology being adapted by the hospital and health care sector, which have high levels of single-use plastics.

In early 2018, Dan turned to the Entrepreneurs’ Programme to connect with someone on a similar wavelength. Through the programme, Dan was paired with innovation facilitator Mario Martini, who knew Dan’s concepts would be the perfect fit with a team of researchers at James Cook University in Townsville.

Mario also worked with Dan to apply for a grant to test his innovation theories, and provided a solid sounding board on moving Medalfield towards his ultimate vision.

The Entrepreneurs’ Programme offered more than just the funding. Dan says the real value of the programme is the expertise and having someone believe in his vision.

There was so many grey areas that I just didn’t understand. Mario basically walked me through the steps and made sure that I understood what I was going to get as an outcome and how the process would work
— Dan Hannigan, CEO, Medalfield

“I think that the style that he brings is that he can talk with the University in a language that they understood and then come and sit down with me and say hey this is how it actually works”

Dan’s aim is for Medalfield to become a waste to energy and recycling company in five years.

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