GENECIS: project for processing of food waste into bioplastics for 3D-printing
Recycling food waste is perhaps one of the most important issues relating to the environment. And if the release of substances from the combustion or gasoline engines in theory it is possible to do something radically abandoning them in favor of clean energy sources, here refuse food will not work at all desire. And a group of researchers from the University of Toronto, Canada has developed a very interesting way in which food waste can be turned into a biodegradable plastic for 3D-printing. A range of applications of such plastics is enormous: from toys to medical devices.
The resulting plastic is produced by experts in the framework of the project Genecis and substances are known as polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs). PGA - a group of high-quality biodegradable polymers which physical properties are similar to plastic, "traditional", but they have a very useful feature: they decompose in the soil for 1 year, and in the water - less than 10 years. It seems that it is quite a long time, but in comparison with the widespread plastic based on PVC and other compounds (which require several hundred years to decay) - this is a very good indicator.
PHA production takes place in 3 stages. In step 1 of genetically modified anaerobic bacteria (i.e., those which do not need oxygen) is decomposed food waste into fatty acids. This process is somewhat similar to the one that occurs in the stomach of a mammal. Then, "connected" aerobic bacteria, which in the presence of oxygen produced based on fatty acids PHA. Next comes the time of the third stage: cleaning PHAs from bacteria and their metabolic waste and obtaining the final compound. For a plastic takes about 7 days, and the production of associated gas - for 21 days. It can already be used as fuel.
One of bioreactors for the production of PHAs.
Canadian team of experts is currently working on the creation of new species and subspecies of bacteria (many of which have not even name) to improve the production technology. Now experts are aimed at developing processes that would put the creation of a biodegradable plastic to flow. As the director of the company Vani Sankar,
"We are ready to experiment with bacterial cultures and more. If the scope of the plastic is quite clear, here biogas can be used to fuel cars. Using gas, can reduce the emission of combustion products of 243 tons per year. And it's just a few cars. "
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