Plastics fulfill many vital functions in modern society, but not enough consideration is given to the end-of-life fate of these extremely stable materials. Almost all plastics are currently produced from fossil resources. Thus, plastic pollution is rampant and plastic production significantly contributes to climate change. Because of this, there is a strong societal and regulatory push for the development of more sustainable, biodegradable bioplastics. However, viable recycling options are still lacking for many of these emerging materials, and there is thus an urgent need for technology development towards a circular bioplastics economy. BioPlastiCycle aims to tackle this challenge by developing and evaluating a complete value cycle for bioplastics, focusing on both well-established polymers like polylactide as well as newly developed materials based on α-ketoglutarate. We address all major aspects of the value cycle, including bio-based monomer production and purification, modelguided eco-friendly polymerization, tuning of the polymer properties towards biodegradation, bio- and chemical recycling of the resulting bioplastics, as well as assessment of economic and environmental impact of these materials. This highly interdisciplinary project aims to further the transition of plastics into the circular bioeconomy by developing new materials and processes, thereby reducing plastics associated pollution while also fostering regional economic development.
Dr. Benedikt Wynands
Prof. Dr. Wiechert & Dr.-Ing. Noack, IBG-1: Systems Biotechnology, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Dr, Herres-Pawlis, Bioinorganic Chemistry, RWTH Aachen
Prof. Dr. Hartmann, Macromolekular Chemistry, HHU Düsseldorf
Prof. Dr. Bott & Prof. Dr. Wierckx & Dr. Wynands, IBG-1: Systemistic Microbiology, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Dr. Vanderborght & Dr. Püzt & Prof. Dr. Bol, IBG-3: Agrosphere, Forschungszentrum Jülich
Prof. Dr. Walther, Operations Management, RWTH Aachen