Unmet Need: Current Polylactic Acid Recycling Processes are not Optimal, Requiring High Pressures/Temperatures, Long Degradation Times and/or Catalysts
Currently, PLA degradation routes are divided into three categories: high temperature hydrolysis, low temperature hydrolysis and alcoholysis. Alcoholysis usually requires transesterification catalysts in a high-pressure environment, which can be difficult to separate from the final product. Like alcoholysis, high temperature hydrolysis is usually performed in a high-pressure environment and under harsh degradation conditions. Although low temperature hydrolysis can be carried out at 50 °C or 60 °C, the degradation time is extremely long. A facile, mild, fast, catalyst free PLA recycling method is needed to promote efficient and sustainable upcycling of PLA.
The Technology: A Method to Upcycle Polylactic Acid into a Variety of Valuable Products under Mild Conditions without a Catalyst
The inventors have developed a technique to degrade PLA in 60 minutes at 100 °C without a catalyst. This method is scalable and would minimize process complexities inherent to current PLA degradation schemes, requiring less specialized processes/equipment and/or catalysts. As well, a selection of valuable degradation products can be obtained from this route of PLA degradation dependent on precursors used. These products can be upcycled directly into a variety of industry applications as valuable starting materials.
- Scalable degradation of PLA waste into a selection of upcycled products
- Does not require high temperatures or pressures
- Does not require catalysts and is timely
- Degradation produces valuable products
Provisional patent filed
TTO Home Page: https://wsu.technologypublisher.com
Name: Scott Steiger
Title: Associate Director
Department: Office of Commercialization
Phone: (509) 335-7065