A consortium, led by Danone and LanzaTech, has found a way to produce plastic using captured carbon emissions from industrial processes.
The companies found a new route to monoethylene glycol (MEG), which is a key building block for ployethylene terephthalate (PET), resin, fibres and bottles.
The carbon capture technology uses an engineered bacterium to convert carbon emissions from steel mills or gasified waste biomass directly into MEG through fermentation, bypassing the need for an ethanol intermediate.
The direct production of MEG, which helps reduce the environmental impact of the process, was proven at laboratory scale, with the presence of MEG confirmed by two external laboratories.
Dr. Jennifer Holmgren, CEO of LanzaTech said: “We have made a breakthrough in the production of sustainable PET that has vast potential to reduce the overall environmental impact of the process.
“This is a technological breakthrough which could have significant impact, with applications in multiple sectors, including packaging and textiles!”
LanzaTech states a multi-year development phase will have to be completed to build on this proof-of-concept success before PET packaging, such as plastic bottles, are made and commercialised.
Pascal Chapon, Danone R&I Advanced Techno Materials Director added: “We have been working with LanzaTech for years and strongly believe in the long term capacity of this technology to become a game-changer in the way to manage sustainable packaging materials production. This technological collaboration is a key enabler to accelerate the development of this promising technology.”
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