Summary session 4
Tuesday 13 June from 13:30-15:00 CET
Each presentation 30 Min + 15 Min discussion
Title: Advanced Recycling – Technology Overview and Deeper Insights into Depolymerisation of Polymers via Chemicals and Enzymes
Moderation: Edwin Hamoen (WUR)
Technologies, Markets and Policies on “Advanced Recycling” by Dr. Lars Krause (nova-Institute)
Mapping of Advanced Recycling Technologies for Plastics Waste. There are gaps in the current life cycle of plastic products, a total of 30 million tonnes of plastic waste is generated annually in Europe, of which about 29 million tonnes are collected. Most of the collected plastic waste is incinerated or landfilled, which are the least preferred options according to the waste hierarchy. In addition to conventional mechanical recycling, a wide range of chemical recycling technologies are coming into focus in discussions on improving recycling rates. Chemical recycling technologies represent innovative ways of dealing with post-consumer waste and offer a range of options not available in current materials recycling pathways. However, as these new technologies are still at an early stage of development, developers face the challenge of proving their potential. While critics point to the stage of development of the technologies and the very large areas of uncertainty in the assessments to date, proponents of chemical recycling see the latest technologies as core technologies of the circular economy and the European Green Deal.
Polyester Recycling: the Role of Chemicals and Enzymes for a Circular Economy in Plastics
Part 1: Chemicals by Shanmugam Thiyagarajan (WUR)
Although Polyethylene furanote (PEF) has not entered the market yet, this polyester polymer is expected to play a significant role in a variety of applications, particularly in packaging. Over the past few decades, numerous academic and industrial research experts have thoroughly demonstrated PEF's superior performance over a Polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Evaluating the availability and production costs of these two polymers, though, would be premature. However, there is an urgent need to plan ahead and address all of the potential options that adhere to the circulatory principles of PEF or any type of new polymers that may come to the market in the future. In this regard, WFBR assessed the PEF polymers' ability to chemically recycle back to its original monomer (i.e. 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid) in a variety of different catalysts. During the session, the preliminary findings will be discussed.
Part 2: Enzymes by Tom Ewing (WUR)
Enzymatic recycling makes use of hydrolytic enzymes to depolymerise polycondensation polymers, for example PET, to their constituent monomers. The monomers can subsequently be isolated and re-used. Advantages of enzymatic recycling include the mild reaction conditions required and selectivity towards a single polymer in mixed materials. We will discuss how, at WFBR, we are using enzymatic methods to develop recycling methodologies for multilayer plastic packaging material.
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