Case ID: M23-215P^

Published: 2024-04-16 13:14:42

Last Updated: 1713273282


Matthew Green
Elham Fini
Albert Hung
Robert Allen

Technology categories

Advanced Materials/NanotechnologyAlternative Energy/Biofuels/Bioplastics/AlgaeEnvironmentalManufacturing/Construction/MechanicalPhysical Science

Licensing Contacts

Physical Sciences Team

Digestion of PET using Long Chain Alcohols


Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) is a commodity plastic that is used in many types of single-use applications (e.g., to-go containers, food packaging, water bottles). The accumulation of plastic waste in landfills and in the environment is fueling a greater push to advance polymer recycling technology. Chemically recycling plastics to break down the macromolecules into monomers and oligomers is an attractive option as it enables a circular plastic economy.

Invention Description

Researchers at Arizona State University have developed a novel process for converting waste plastics into additives for polymer manufacturing. In this process, long chain alcohols are used to digest PET and depolymerize the compound to monomers and oligomers. The resulting alkyl terephthalates can be separated by crystallization and the polar compounds can also be used as modifiers to compatibilize other waste plastics (e.g., polyethylene, LDPE) in bitumen and asphalt. 

Potential Applications

  • Polymer manufacturing
  • Asphalt & bitumen manufacturing

Benefits and Advantages

  • Low energy chemical recycling
  • Sustainable processing of waste plastics
  • Enables potential circular plastic economy