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Advancing Circular Economy: REPLACER Kicks-off Plastic Recycling & Biomass Production Innovation

The REPLACER project kick-off meeting took place from August 24th to 25th, 2023, at the University of Leipzig, Germany. The meeting brought together representatives from various partner organizations to discuss and initiate the project activities aimed at developing PET recycling and producing hybrid living materials (HLMs) to capture greenhouse gases (CCU) and produce value-added products, i.e., microbial proteins as a source of animal feed.

Figure 1. Project team at the kick-off meeting in Leipzig.

On the first day, the meeting began with a warm welcome from Dr. Rohan Karande (project coordinator and leader) who introduced the participants to the REPLACER project's objectives and goals. Dr. Karande provided an overview of the project, highlighting its significance in addressing technological, biological and environmental challenges through innovative solutions.

Each partner organization introduced themselves, with representatives providing brief insights into their competencies, research focus, and contributions to the project. Project partners are comprised of research institutions and companies, including Leipzig University (coordinator), Leibniz Institute of Surface Engineering, University of Latvia, qCOAT and Holisun.

The second day of the kick-off meeting was dedicated to detailed discussions about the project's work packages. Each work package (WP) was introduced and discussed, allowing participants to delve into the specific tasks to be accomplished. The discussions were moderated by each WP leader, and covered topics related to membrane design (WP1), building HLMs (WP2 & WP5), testing biofilm development (WP3), learning and predicting HLMs' performance using modeling and AI tools (WP4), environmental and economic assessments (WP6), and the application of responsible research and innovation (RRI) principles (WP7).

Figure 2. Work packages of the REPLACER project.

Throughout the kick-off meeting discussions, participants shared their insights, expectations, and ideas, laying the groundwork for the collaborative efforts that will drive the project's success.

The meeting provided a platform for partners to connect, align their visions, and establish a strong foundation for the REPLACER project. The enthusiasm and dedication displayed by all participants underscored the collective commitment to advancing sustainable solutions for recycling plastic and addressing environmental challenges.

With the successful conclusion of the kick-off meeting, the REPLACER project is now set in motion, and partners are eager to embark on their collaborative journey towards innovation and positive impact.

This research is funded by the Latvian State Budget (Latvian Council of Science) in the frame of M-ERA.Net project "Recycling plastic and developing hybrid living materials by capturing greenhouse gases to produce value-added products" (REPLACER), grant number ES RTD/2023/12.


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