PolyBiotic Polyesters: Circular from the start-up

We are the start-up Fair-Fusion, an interdisciplinary research organisation that develops sustainable solutions in terms of prototypes and theories. Our mission is to propose possibilities to reduce plastic pollution, stop global climate change and preserve vital ecosystem functions. Here we are going to explain to you what this special project is about and how you can apply for this project.

So, are you up for joining us to change the world? Then go-on, learn about the problem and how we aim to tackle it using the best of your talents and skills.

The problem

The ubiquitous and growing use of plastics seem to have established itself as a remarkably valuable and convenient material. The production and especially the recycling process of these plastics is a diverse and complex process, where the sustainability of the system as a whole is increasingly being questioned. We at Fair-Fusion think that we should change this, the sooner, the better. In context of the collaboration between the University of Pisa, University of Amsterdam, NHL Stenden, Saxion and Fair-Fusion we present you this special project that is part of a much larger project. This overarching project aims to develop sustainable materials according to the ‘two-cycle model’ i.e. fully mechanically recyclable and biodegradable materials. We call them PolyBiotic Polyesters. In a way this family of materials is “alive” because, in the polymer a ‘special’ sauce and a selection of microbes are added. These microbes and plastics are adapted so that under ‘normal house like’ condition no degradation will occur. However, the moment salt water comes in contact a chain reactions will initiates. Exponential degradation insures that when polymers hit our precious ecosystems, the material will be gone within 6 months without microplastics formation. PolyBiotic Poly(Lactic Acid) and PolyBiotic Poly(Glycol-modified Polyethylene Terephthalate) are among the first prototypes to be presented.

Your challenge is to address European sustainability issues by developing a business plan that will guarantee success: European use of recyclable and biodegradable PolyBiotic Polyesters within x years. We advise you to look at applications where materials will be most likely A) recycled, B) used over longer periods of time and C) and where plastics provide a solution where other materials just do not; Think: packaging, office supplies, industrial equipment, 3D-printing, commercial fishing gear etc.

What you will be doing

Your first step is to get to grips with the technology: ‘How does it work?’ and ‘What is the latest news?’. The next step is to write the Beta business plan to the best of your abilities within given time. Do not forget to incorporate the SMART principle (Specific, Measurable, Agreed, Realistic, Time Specific) and an interdisciplinary approach. The latter means that you need to use language from at least three scientific disciplines and use some kind of model; we propose you to use the ‘two-cycle-model’ but you may select another one. In the meantime your team will assemble a virtual ‘Board Of Experts’ (BOE). At least five members will evaluate your business plan as a whole, or parts of it. Try to select member who are experts in their field and thus can make a unique contribution to the evaluation of you business plan. Maybe get a Biotechnologist, anthropologist, philosopher or an ‘Industrial Product Designer’ onto your board; people who are willing to do some reading and an interview.

The third step is to perform the interviews. With the goal of evaluating your business plan and potentially research question(s). Perhaps try to record your interviews for later assessment; audio and/or video. You might want to initiate the interview by asking them how they would summarise the proposal. This will indicate if they understood your proposal and what their take is on your proposal. Then come with the more specific questions on how they think the proposal might be improved upon. Be vigilant about betraying your objectives. The goal is to shape concepts and thinking processes. Grammar and style discussions are thus impervious. The last step is to write the Alfa Research Proposal. This contains all the elements of your original business plan and the integrated parts of your interviews. This will be the report you are required to submit for grading. You may use the report also for starting your very own spin-off.

Collaborating organizations: NHL Stenden, Saxion, Drenthe College, Universiteit van Amsterdam University of Pisa, Waternet, ZeroZoone.

We care about the future of our planet and on this way we strive to recruit the best talents. Join us!

Send an e-mail to us at info@fair-fusion.eu

Supplementary material

CleanSea, a scientific voyage into the problem of marine litter and what we can do about it
Plastics Made from Milk, Potatoes and Sugar? | HTME
Re-thinking Progress: The Circular Economy
What really happens to the plastic you throw away – Emma Bryce