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Earth Day Power Lunch Lecture Series: Plastic Bottles Inspire Sustainable Solution

National Renewable Energy Laboratory Education Center

15013 Denver West Parkway
Golden, CO 80401

Phone: 303.384.6565

Presented by Bryon Donohoe and Nic Rorrer, National Bioenergy Center, NREL

What to do with plastic bottles that, after being discarded, often end up in the ocean? Join Bryon Donohoe and Nic Rorrer to hear about an enzyme that could provide an answer.  

Polyethylene terephthalate (PET) is one of the most abundantly produced synthetic polymers and is accumulating in the environment at a staggering rate as products such as plastic bottles, packaging, and textiles are discarded. The properties that make PET such a versatile material also make it resistant to biodegradation. 

In this talk, Donohoe and Rorrer will present their recent work studying a unique pair of enzymes that have evolved to degrade PET. They’ll also discuss some of their insights about how the enzymes evolved and how they might be applied as a technology to help recycle"or even upcycle"PET plastic.

Bryon Donohoe is a senior scientist in NREL’s Bioenergy Center. He applies his background in cell biology and expertise in microscopy to study the interaction of microbes and their enzymes with complex solid substrates.

Nic Rorrer is a research scientist in NREL’s National Bioenergy Center. He specializes in producing polymers from biomass and recycling/upcycling plastic materials. Specifically, he is interested in combining biomass with conventional plastics for materials that simultaneously possess both performance advantaged behavior and lower manufacturing intensities.

Reservations Required

Call 303-384-6565 or email to make a reservation for this free public program. Participants are welcome to bring a lunch to enjoy during the presentation.

Monday, 22 April, 2019


Education Center


8 of 60 Spaces Requested

RSVP period for this event ended 04/22/2019