Enzymatic degradation and recycling of polyethylene terephthalate
Purpose and goal
The purpose of the project is to demonstrate the plastic recycling of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) using enzymes. The enzymes break down PET by catalyzing the water cleavage between terephthalic acid and ethylene glycol. Both monomers can then be utilized and used to make new PET products. The low energy consumption gives a low climate footprint with a lower emission compared to newly produced plastic from petrochemical raw materials. A smaller pilot plant will be ready in Q4 2022 which will be used to optimize and generate process data for the first licensing agreement in 2023.
Expected results and effects
By showing that enzymatic plastic recycling is both economical and has a low environmental impact, the technology can be rolled out on a commercial scale. Increased recycling of PET helps to achieve the UN´s sustainability goals during sustainable consumption and production, objective 12.5. Cyclezymes´ technology can significantly reduce the amount of waste that goes exclusively to incineration or landfill. More recycling of PET contributes to the need to produce less new PET, which in the long run reduces the demand for oil and contributes to the transition to a fossil-free society.
Planned approach and implementation
The project is based on taking a process from a lab scale to a smaller pilot scale. The first thing that needs to be done is to complete a pilot plant with the equipment needed to recycle raw materials containing PET in kg scale and to produce enzymes for the process. The pilot plant is crucial to be able to test and optimize the process for different raw materials from potential customers and to optimize the production of the company´s enzymes. Data generated in the pilot plant will form the basis for a license agreement for a reference plant of 10,000 tonnes per year that can be completed in 2025.