Thursday, 27 November 2014

John+McKenna+PNG Comment

It's the economics, stupid

John McKenna, Editor

Bacteria boost for waste bioplastics

  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (1)
  • Save
Bacteria used in bioplastics production

Bacteria species can enhance the production of bioplastics from waste, according to new research.

European researchers are utilising bacteria to ferment gases derived from urban waste sources in order to produce bioplastics for use in industries such as medical prosthesis and packaging.

The Synpol project, which comprises a team of European-based biotechnology research scientists, has discovered that mixtures of bacterial species may enhance efficiencies of urban waste conversion.

It is a positive approach to get more out of organic fractions containing waste streams instead of landfilling

Felicitas Schneider, Institute of Waste Economics

Initial research is designed to transform complex raw materials such as municipal and chemical waste into biopolymers through the use of bacteria.

The method currently being developed thermochemically decomposes waste before being gasified to produce syngas, a synthetic fuel gas. Syngas is then used to derive carbon monoxide or dioxide and hydrogen which is coupled to fermentation techniques, using recombinant bacteria to produce bioplastic compounds.

“It is a positive approach to get more out of organic fractions containing waste streams instead of incineration or landfilling,” said Felicitas Schneider, researcher at the Institute for Waste Economics at the University for Natural Resources, Vienna.

However, some experts have raised concerns over how energy-intensive such conversion techniques might be.

“The crucial question is if the high-energy inputs of gasification of biomass wastes are suitable and if the gasification process will technically work for the aimed feedstocks,” said Achim Raschka, head of technology at the Nova Institute.

“These questions will be addressed via an economical and ecological analysis of the whole process in the project.”

The next stages of the Synpol project will determine which bacteria are more efficient in the production of bioplastics, as well as testing mixtures of different species of bacteria. 

Readers' comments (1)

  • This is a really exciting development and extension to the thermal waste treatment technologies that are now proving to be viable using pyrolysis and gasification to produce a good quality syngas.

    As an international environmental consultancy we would be happy to introduce technology providers who have sufficiently developed and proved their technologies to a point where credible discussions on subsequent processing of syngas can take place. I would be pleased to hear from someone on this.

    Unsuitable or offensive? Report this comment

Have your say

Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
Mandatory
  • Print
  • Share
  • Comments (1)
  • Save

THE LATEST ISSUE

Process+October+small

The latest issue of Process Engineering

Newsletter+promo

Site powered by Webvision