Professor Daniel Otzen, iNANO, Aarhus University
Center for enzymatic deconstruction of thermoset plastics for a sustainable society (En’Zync)
Peter Westh, Department of Biotechnology and Biomedicine, Technical University of Denmark (DTU)
Maria Ramos, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of Porto
Anders Lindhart, Environmental Technology Division, Danish Technological Institute
Among the strongest and most durable plastics exist a group called thermosets, used for wind turbines, airplanes, and insulation foams.Common for these plastics are that they cannot be melted, and thus, not recycled through conventional means. However, unlike regular plastics, most thermosets consist of chemical linkages reminiscent of nature’s own linkages as found in food sources such as sugar or protein. Using nature’s own approach of degradation, En’Zync will attempt to develop enzymes, found in fungi, which are able to break down thermosets into molecular units in a controlled manner. These molecular units, called monomers, can be used in the production of new thermosets and will offer an unprecedented method for thermoset recycling. This ambitious goal is made possible only through interdisciplinary collaboration between material specialists, molecular biologists, and computational experts.
Daniel Otzen is receiving DKK 57,003,755 for the project.
Photo Credits: Jesper Rais