2020/01/30

A European project to reduce the burden of plastic waste in the environment

Categories: Bioplastics, Circular Economy, Innovation

AIMPLAS will take part in the Horizon 2020 research innovation project BioICEP (Bio-Innovation of a Circular Economy for Plastic), which will seek to develop sustainable, environmentally friendly alternatives to traditional petroleum-based plastic. This major pan European Chinese research group will use an innovative triple action process to accelerate the degradation of traditional plastic and turn it into biopolymers, which can be used as natural biodegradable replacement plastics.

The project aims to reduce the burden of plastic waste in the environment. The countries have been selected to represent different mixed plastic pollution environments, with specific partners selected which have the expertise and facilities to carry out the necessary technical innovations. Three innovative booster technologies are at the core of this solution accentuating, expediting, and augmenting plastics degradation to levels far above those current achievable.

The project’s approach is a triple-action depolymerisation system where the plastic waste will be broken down in three consecutive processes:

  1. Mechano-biochemical disintegration processes, including a new proprietary sonic-green-chemical technology to reduce the polymer molecular weight of the base polymer to make it amenable to biodegradation.
  2. Biocatalytic digestion, with enzymes enhanced through a range of innovative techniques including accelerated screening through a novel fluorescent sensor and directed evolution.
  3. Microbial consortia developed from best in class single microbial strains, which combined leads to highly efficient degradation of mixed plastic waste streams. The outputs from this degradation process will be used as building blocks for new polymers or other bioproducts to enable a new plastic waste-based circular economy.

AIMPLAS’ role in the project will be the pre-treatment of the plastics through microwave thermal degradation, supercritical CO2 assisted depolymerization and reactive extrusion to facilitate the enzyme and microorganisms’ action. Furthermore, AIMPLAS will lead the dissemination and exploitation of results and the communication activities.

BioICEP project

The Kick-Off Meeting, funding and consortium

The Kick-Off Meeting will be held on 10 and 11 February in Athlone (Ireland) and the project, which will span four years, commencing in February 2020, will be led by Athlone Institute of Technology.

The BioICEP project is funded by the programme EU Horizon 2020, topic CE-BIOTEC-05-2019 “Microorganism communities for plastic bio-degradation”, grant agreement number 870292.

AIMPLAS plus thirteen other partners from nine different European and Asian countries took part in the BioICEP project: ACTECO (Spain), AVECOM (Belgium), TECHNISCHE UNIVERSITAT CLAUSTHAL (Germany), INSTITUT ZA MOLEKULARNU GENETIKU I GENETICKO INZENJERSTVO (Serbia), INSTITUTO DE BIOLOGIA EXPERIMENTAL E TECNOLOGICA and LOGOPLASTE INNOVATION LAB LDA (Portugal), ATHLONE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, LIMERICK INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY and THE PROVOST, FELLOWS, FOUNDATION SCHOLARS & THE OTHER MEMBERS OF BOARD OF THE COLLEGE OF THE HOLY & UNDIVIDED TRINITY OF QUEEN ELIZABETH NEAR DUBLIN (Ireland), MICROLIFE SOLUTIONS BV (the Netherlands), NATIONAL TECHNICAL UNIVERSITY OF ATHENS – NTUA (Greece) and BEIJING INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY, INSTITUTE OF MICROBIOLOGY – CHINESE ACADEMY OF SCIENCES and SHANDONG UNIVERSITY (China).

Tags: Plastic research institute

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