Recycling of composite materials and residual materials through enzymatic degradation of cellulose and pyrolytic recovery of plastics


The aim of the project funded by InvestBW as part of Greencycling is to develop and establish an economical and environmentally friendly alternative to the energy-intensive sorting or incineration of mixed waste. To this end, an existing pyrolytic recycling process is being combined with enzymatic pre-treatment in a bioreactor. While the recycling of unmixed plastics is already well developed, the recycling of plastic-cellulose composites is limited. Until now, these have had to be separated mechanically by type, which is costly and in many cases technically impossible. The aim is therefore to produce biogas in a preliminary stage by enzymatic hydrolysis of the cellulose-containing part of the composite materials. The enzymes required for this, the so-called cellulases, are being newly developed and integrated into the process. The hydrolysis products (liquid phase) can then be further converted into biogas in a biogas plant, while the plastic-containing portion (solid phase) is further processed in a pyrolytic process to produce pyrolysis oil, which is returned to the petrochemical industry for use in the production of high-quality polymers.

01.09.2023 - 31.08.2025


Dr. Anne Zeck

Group Leader Bioanalytics

Dr. Simon Straß

Scientist Bioanalytics