Team:Westminster UK

Step 1: Polystyrene waste collection

Our system is designed for waste collection and conversion. No genetically modified bacteria should be thrown into the environment!

Step 2: Expanded Polystyrene Waste Volume Reduction

Polystyrene has the property to dissolve in organic chemicals. This offers a great solution to separating vast amounts of gas embedded within expanded polystyrene and reduces its initial volume by up to 99%!

Step 3: Chemical Preparation of the Styrene Monomer

Unlike most other plastics, polystyrene can depolymerise to its monomer units when treated with high heat. The resulting product is a mixture of 70% styrene and its structurally similar compounds, which can be condensed back into a yellow liquid.

Step 4: Biodegradation through the Toluene Degradation Pathway

We have utilised the toluene degradation pathway found in a specific strain of Pseudomonas putida to degrade the styrene monomers and convert them into a source of energy for the bacteria.

Project brought up by the University of Westminster's Life Science Department.