AI could help break down textile waste
US Department of Energy’s Agile BioFoundry (ABF) partners with US tech company Protein Evolution on a new project exploring the use of AI and enzymes in breaking down textile and plastic waste.
Protein Evolution claims its technology is the first in the US to use enzymes as a catalyst to produce new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) using polyester textile waste.
The project has two separate arms – the first will use AI to create enzymes that break down textile and plastic waste, the second will find ways to streamline methods for manufacturing the enzymes required.
Protein Evolution claims its technology is the first in the US to use enzymes as a catalyst to produce new polyethylene terephthalate (PET) using polyester textile waste. It says the PET produced is identical to virgin PET and is suitable for both textile and packaging applications.
The company is focusing on scaling its commercial capacity and working with a more diverse range of plastic waste.
The research is being led by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, in association with the Joint BioEnergy Institute, Advanced Biofuels and the Bioproducts Process Development Unit.
The plan to turn textile and plastic waste into a fresh resource was previously revealed in 2022, but this latest development sees the company collaborating with ABF on scaling the technology.
The project is one of five decarbonisation schemes recently selected by ABF. It will work with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and Oak Ridge National Laboratory on the new AI scheme for tackling waste.