CE.20.017 – CO2PLASTIC – Hybrid Autotrophic Platform for Sustainable Plastics from CO2

Route: Circular economy

Cluster question: 017 How can we make chemical and biochemical production processes more sustainable, more efficient, and cleaner?

Turning CO2 into biodegradable materials is a promising option to capture large amounts of CO2 while reducing plastic pollution. The current routes include either chemical catalysis allowing higher productivity or biotechnological conversion methods allowing higher specificity, and lower footprint. CO2PLASTIC wants to go beyond this state-of-the-art by combining the best of these two worlds. We will develop added-value chemicals from CO2 using cutting-edge technologies by a combination of biotechnological and chemical catalysis. Using these CO2-derived chemicals, we will synthesize an entire family of valuable non-polluting polymers with targeted properties, set by the most important benchmark materials (PET, PS, PP, PE, PLA), for a variety of products. We will address the most important reason behind poor recyclability of common plastics – multilayered products which are inseparable and incompatible – by designing monomaterial solutions to specific product requirements on a molecular level. Instead of having to choose between recyclability, compostability and biodegradability, we will create materials which fit into any end-of-life scenario: designed for recycling and composting, but intrinsically degradable if accidentally leaked into the environment. Physical, mechanical, ecotoxicity, recyclability, biodegradability and compostability properties of these materials will be evaluated. LCA analysis will guide the design of the hybrid autotrophic platform to make it environmentally, economically and energy-friendly. Societal aspects such as public perception and consumer acceptance of the new technology will also be part of the project. CO2PLASTIC puts forth the multidisciplinary approach needed to tackle the challenge of CO2 activation and valorization. Herein, key-to-success is the set-up of a strong consortium in which all required expertises and complementary skills are reflected: from chemistry and biotechnology to engineering, environmental and economic assessment, dissemination and business opportunities.

Keywords

biodegradable, biotechnology, catalysis, CO2 emissions, CO2 valorization, compostable, environmental crisis, Life Cycle Analysis, mild, plastics accumulation, recyclable, safe

Submitter

Organisation Wageningen Research (WUR)
Name Dr. J. (Jacco) van Haveren
E-mail jacco.vanhaveren@wur.nl
Website https://www.wur.nl/en/Research-Results/Research-Institutes/food-biobased-research/Solutions/Environmentally-benign-building-blocks-for-biobased-polymers-1.htm