HomeIndustry InsightsNew Breakthrough in PET Upcycling: Bio-Chemical Dual Catalysis Enables High-Value Utilization

New Breakthrough in PET Upcycling: Bio-Chemical Dual Catalysis Enables High-Value Utilization

The issue of plastic waste recycling, particularly for PET (polyethylene terephthalate), has long been a significant social concern due to its strong chemical stability. However, recent breakthrough research offers new hope for the high-value recycling of PET.

A research team has successfully developed a novel method for the efficient depolymerization and resource-oriented utilization of PET plastics using an innovative bio-chemical dual catalysis approach. Their findings, published in the prestigious international journal Science, have garnered widespread global attention.

This method involves the abiotic depolymerization of PET waste through advanced photocatalysis and electrocatalysis, yielding substrates such as TPA and EG. Furthermore, a biological up-cycling pathway utilizing specialized enzymes produced by microorganisms transforms these substrates into high-value chemicals.

This innovative strategy not only enables the use of depolymerized monomers to create new plastic products with properties equivalent to virgin PET but also opens avenues for converting these monomers into high-value chemicals such as adipic acid and vanillin via a biotransformation pathway.

“Our research not only boosts the recycling efficiency of PET but also converts waste into valuable products, contributing to the circular economy. The integrated biological and non-biological approach paves a new path for environmental sustainability.” emphasized Prof. Zhiling Li. 

Compared to traditional mechanical or thermal decomposition methods, the bio-chemical dual catalysis technology promises more extensive recycling of PET plastics. It is expected to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions while enhancing the value of recycled products.

Experts believe this breakthrough is a significant milestone in PET plastic recycling, with the potential to support the industry’s transition toward a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future.

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