December 13, 2023

Electrochemical conversion of CO2 into sustainable plastic materials

The Industrial Sustainable Chemistry group of the Van ‘t Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences (HIMS) at Amsterdam Science Park is among twelve partners in seven countries that will cooperate in the four-year HICCUPS project funded by the EU with 5 million euro. Its aim is to demonstrate the full value chain of producing PLGA packaging plastics from biogenic CO2 obtained from wastewater treatment.

PLGA Poly(lactic-co-glycolic acid) is a polymer with excellent water vapour and gas barrier properties, fully biodegradable and completely made from renewable feedstock, which makes it a promising candidate for the replacement of fossil polyethylene. The HICCUPS consortium proposes a resource efficient solution to produce PLGA plastics for the packaging industry, starting from biogenic CO2 emissions from wastewater treatment plants. Hence the project acronym: “Highly innovative technology demonstration for bio-based CO2 capture and utilization for production of bulk plastics applications”.

The HICCUPS project was launched in September and started with a kick-off meeting in Amsterdam. Funded by the EU programme Horizon Europe with 5M€, it will run until the end of August 2027.

Developing the full value chain

HICCUPS coordinator is the Amsterdam-based Dutch renewable chemistries developer Avantium. The PLGA polymer will be produced by combining two of its innovative technologies. The first is the one-step electrochemical conversion of CO2 to oxalic acid, followed by reduction to glycolic acid. The second is the polymerisation of this CO2-based glycolic acid into PLGA. Together with the partners in the HICCUPS consortium, the aim is to demonstrate the entire value chain, from biogenic CO2 captured to the final application of PLGA for packaging purposes. Packaging materials will be produced with PLGA film-coated paper and moulded plastic. Examples of this type of packaging include coated paper for food packaging.

At the University of Amsterdam’s Industrial Sustainable Chemistry group led by Prof. Gert-Jan Gruter, CTO of Avantium, a PhD student will work on a number of topics related to PLGA. The focus will be in particular on recyclability and end-of-life strategies. In-depth research will be performed on the biodegradability of various glycolic acid based polyesters in different environments. The feedback provided to the consortium partners can then be used in application design.

Related news

How can we help you?

Looking for partners to collaborate. Or looking for a certain expertise? Or would you like to locate your business in the Amsterdam Science Park? Drop us a line and we help you to find a perfect match.

Leo le Duc Science & Business
For business inquiries contact

Leo Le Duc

Let's connect