Studentisches Start-Up Projekt - Sommersemester 2016
Problem: Plastic pollution of our world
Polyurethane is a synthetic polymer and used as a base material in various industries and manufacturing. It has become a major environmental problem due to the amounts of this type of plastic produced by the industry (12 million tons per year worldwide, increasing by 5%every year) and the pollution generated by its disposal. It is found in a wide variety of modern appliances such as: furnishings, paints, vehicle parts, foam insulation materials, glues and shoes.
The environmental problem is that once it is disposed at landfills it remains there almost indefinitely because as it does hardly decompose by its own. Polyurethane can be burnt, but this releases harmful greenhouse gases and toxic aerosols into the atmosphere.
Based on the discovery in 2012 of an amazonian fungus (Pestalotiopsis microspora), which is able to degrade polyurethane and turn it into organic material, PLASTEAT is a process that would enable us to turn this plastic into compost. All in all, PLASTEAT would offer a great solution for a major worldwide problem: plastic pollution. PLASTEAT aims at providing a solution for the recycling of both industrial quantities and private household quantities.
We will set up a research partnership with universities to get the expertise and help for developing and improving the process. External laboratories will help us with special tests regarding the fungus and other microorganisms, which are able to degrade other kinds of plastic. We will manufacture degrading plants for business customers and degrading boxes for private customers to offer a solution for every market.
Revenues are generated by selling the actual degradation process to business customers and a degradation box to private customers.
We are a team of five students with a strong background in life sciences with Christina and Michael as bachelor students in food science & biotechnology and Benoit as a master student in agricultural engineering. We also have expertise in business and technology with Jutta as a bachelor student in business administration and Lukas as a master student in mechanical engineering - economics.
Jutta Camen (WU)
Michael Leitner (BOKU)
Christina Gruber (BOKU)
Benoit Galaup (BOKU - ERASMUS)
Lukas Grünberger (TU)