Chemical recycling is one type of recycling that allows plastics to be processed into pure compounds for the production of polymers and subsequent products. Dr Patrycja Maria Jutrzenka Trzebiatowska from UG (the University of Gdańsk – editor’s note) introduces another novelty to this method – complex, three-dimensional structures known as MOFs.
Asked by PAP what her project is about, she replied:
“Several types of plastics I plan to recycle chemically. From polyurethane (PU), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polycarbonate (PC) and other materials, we intend to recover the monomers, i.e., the basic elements that make up these plastics. We will be using what is called MOFs (Metal-Organic Frameworks) for this, which are metal-organic structures.”
In response to a question about chemical recycling, she replied that it is different from the standard method because it is not mechanical.
“It is much more different. In standard recycling, mainly mechanical methods are used – bottles, packaging and other products, after segregation and cleaning, are crushed and formed into granules that can be reused as raw material for manufacturing plastic products,” she said.
PAP asked whether Dr Patrycja’s project has a chance to develop into a commercial venture.
“During my PhD, I patented a method related to chemical recycling. A similar method developed by scientists of Gdansk University of Technology (PG) was of interest to a certain company and bought a license for it (The company bought a license for an earlier patent prepared at PG). The use of MOFs in this field is new, so there is patent potential. Whether this will translate into commercialization is hard to say at this point, but certainly, the planned research will be a step in that direction,” – she pointed out.