Microplastic Degradation

Technology Overview

400 million tons of plastics are being produced per year. The majority of it is not recycled, but burned, processed into low-grade plastics or ends up in the environment, where it can take centuries to degrade, accumulate in the food chain and poses an immense concern.

To address these issues, standardized and rapid enzyme based tests for the investigation of (bio)polymer biodegradability, and enzymes for the fully natural degradation of different plastics such as PET, PU, etc. were developed. These allow for novel recycling approaches, as well as novel solutions for microplastic in wastewater treatment facilities.

Technology Features & Specifications

The technology developed has the following features:

  • Advanced enzymes for natural degradation of various synthetic and bio-based polymers into their building blocks. With different enzymes it is possible to fully degrade even composite materials consisting of e.g. PET (polyethylene terephthalate), PU (polyurethane), etc. It is possible to develop a novel process for polymer-recycling without prior need for the plastic being sorted.

  • Standardized and novel rapid enzyme based procedures for the investigation of biodegradation of synthetic and bio-based polymers in a range of different environments including (anaerobic) composting, aqueous systems (rivers, lakes, …), animal digestion models and others. Structurally different model substrates are synthetized and labelled to elucidate the influence of chemical composition and environmental factors on biodegradation.

Potential Applications

Potential applications include but not limited to:

  • Bioremediation solution for microplastic in wastewater treatment facilities or related environment

  • Development of novel polymer-recycling process - e.g. without plastic sorting

Market Trends and Opportunities

The world production of plastic increases steadily with 1.5 million metric tons in 1950, 50 million tons in 1976, 100 million tons in 1989, 200 million tons in 2002, 300 million tons in 2013 and more than 350 million tons in 2018. As public opinion is turning against plastic waste, there is a high need of environmentally friendly solutions.

Customer Benefits

The client seeks investors and industrial partners to develop this technology to commercial scale. Under protection of a CDA/NDA, details on sophisticated plastics degradation opportunities will be provided.

Any IP developed in a joint project would fully belong to the investor/industrial partner.

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