Students Found A Way To Turn Plastic To CO2 And Water By Engineer Bacteria

Articles Jun 28, 2019 11:41

Plastic pollution end here as recently two students have found a way to turn plastic into water and other chemical compounds. This case shocks the world as plastic pollution is a big deal nowaday. Let's read more about this crazy discovery.

Jeanny Yao, 21, and Miranda Wang, 22, who have been developing their project for years, say they have a way of ‘upcycling’ plastic pollution into ‘valuable compounds for textiles’ and ‘valuable biosurfactants for the textile industry.’

They do this by using ‘genetically engineered bacteria’ to chemically breakdown plastic polymers – such as polystyrene and polyethylene film – and turn it into organic compounds, which then undergo a ‘biological conversion’ into more valuable products.

Students Found A Way To Turn Plastic To CO2 And Water By Engineer Bacteria
Ian Lindsay/Vancouver Sun

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The two scientists presented their findings at a recent TED talk, and have been awarded no less than five prestigious prizes from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania for their findings. The pair have also won a number of entrepreneurship contests for their discovery, and secured more than $300,000 in funding, according to the Vancouver Sun.

The pair are now planning to move to Silicon Valley to further the development of their innovative technology.

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As Wang said:

Our technology is the first in the world that can break down plastics at a scalable industrial level.

Students Found A Way To Turn Plastic To CO2 And Water By Engineer Bacteria
Deposit Photos

Jeanny and Miranda’s project – BioCellection – aims to repurpose plastic waste into other textiles and compounds which can then be reused.

This is done by using genetically engineered bacteria which can breakdown plastic into its most basic, chemical form.

As their website states:

BioCellection’s conversion technology involves the chemical breakdown of plastic polymers, such as polystyrene and post-consumer film, into organic compounds, followed by biological conversion into valuable products. BioCellection upcycles unrecyclable plastic waste into valuable compound rhamnolipid for textiles using genetically engineered bacteria.

It happens in a two-step process that tackles plastic pollution one plastic at a time. By coupling chemistry and synthetic biology, Biocellection creates a novel process that breaks down plastic into usable building blocks that are then turned into other valuable materials.

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The genetically modified bacteria can effectively dissolve plastic into carbon dioxide and water. They are particularly keen to develop a technique to breakdown the more difficult to recycle plastics, such as polystyrene.

The scientists believe they can turn the global plastic crisis into a ‘greater opportunity’, by recycling plastic ‘beyond the oil loop’ and ‘disrupting the textiles industry.’

Jeanny and Miranda say their products are about two years away from becoming commercially available.

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