Centre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies

TransAtlantic Discovery, Characterization and Application of Enzymes for the Recycling of Polymers and Composites 

Transatlantic discovery, characterization and application of enzymes for the recycling of polymers and compositesThis Global Innovation Initiative (GII) project provides a vehicle for developing collaborative research using the strengths of all three partners (University of Bath, Ohio State University and University of São Paulo) and for building research capacity, by developing a mobile cohort of young researchers who are able to work on multi-disciplinary solutions to global challenges.


19 May 2016: Brazilian Diaries: Visit to University of Campinas - Blog
20 July 2015: TransAtlantic collaborators meet to investigate novel approaches to recycling plastics
07 May 2015: Biomaterials with University of São Paulo in Brazil - Blog
01 May 2015: Bath strengthens ties with The Ohio State University
29 September 2014: CSCT resesarch staff take part in kick-off workshop for Global Innovation Initiative project

The Team

Principal investigators:


Dates: 1 July 2014 – 30 June 2016; Value: £149,509; Funder: British Council

Project summary

Specifically, this transatlantic project brings together experts in molecular and structural biology, polymer materials and sustainable technologies from Brazil, the UK and the US, to work on an important global problem: effective recycling of polymers to keep their carbon in the manufacturing loop. We will use nature's catalysts, enzymes, to reduce polymers to their component monomers for recovery of valuable components, or for remanufacture.

In the first instance we will apply potent enzymes developed for the 2nd generation biofuel industry in the deconstruction of novel 'green' composite cellulosic materials to release and recover valuable components, e.g. rare metals used in electronics. The second, even more impactful, research area entails discovering, characterizing and applying enzymes for low energy depolymerization of more challenging targets, including biopolymers, that are becoming more widely used to replace oil-based polymers.  The ultimate challenge will be to apply enzymatic depolymerization to the oil-based polymers themselves.

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