Welcome to NEnzy

NEnzy – this is the junior research group for enzyme catalysis, which works on innovative solutions for waste treatment and recycling in the plastics industry. By utilizing enzymes, the interdisciplinary research team is using new approaches to accelerate the transition towards a fully circular economy.

The global plastics industry faces the challenge of increasing demand combined with finite fossil resources. In addition, the high consumption of plastics also increases the amount of waste that can accumulate in the environment if disposed incorrectly. To counteract these problems, the young research group for enzyme catalysis – in short NEnzy - was founded in August 2022. This research group is a close cooperation between the German plastics manufacturer Covestro and the Institute of Biotechnology at RWTH Aachen University. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and will run for five years. The team has been fully staffed since February 2023 and consists of seven scientists supported by three experienced mentors.

The overall objective of the junior research group is to establish enzymatic processes in the plastics industry to accelerate the transformation towards a fully circular economy. The junior research group focusses on three core topics:

  1. the enzymatic recycling of used plastics products and plastics waste
  2. the targeted and complete decomposition of used plastics in nature
  3. the treatment of process wastewater during plastics production

The novel concept of an overarching bridge group between industry and university institutions aims to contribute to the rapid implementation of research results in real industrial processes.