For 10 years (from 2006-2014)  5 fruitful biennial MMC PHA research workshops were organized by research groups in Delft, Lund, Lisbon, Rome, and Toulouse. Since 2014 there have been a number of exciting MMC steps and developments, including piloting and product evaluations towards further fundamental as well as practical techno-socio-economic advancements. Several EU projects, including but not limited to H2020 sponsored initiatives of SMART-Plant, RESURBIS, and SCALIBUR, drive to push the fundamental and TRL developments upwards in understanding, promise and scale. To share and capture the snapshot in the current state of advancements, on behalf of the organizing committee we welcome your participation in the sixth MMC PHA research workshop to be held in Venice on September 11 and 12.

The current societal pressures motivate higher value conversions from organic residuals to renewable raw materials and fine chemicals to the market – circular economies from renewable resources. Surplus activated sludge produced during industrial or municipal wastewater treatment is rich in functional microbial activity and, as such, it is a resource that does not have to be a waste. Towards this end, harvested surplus biomass has been demonstrated to offer significant capacity for reliable high-quality biopolymer production. Even waste municipal activated sludge can be made to accumulate at least its organic weight in polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs), polymers with established commercial potential as ingredients for the bioplastics, biofuel and chemical industries.

One could think that such marvels of potential in sustainability would be welcomed with open arms by communities around the world. However, that road is not always so simple as it may seem. Naturally, a new technology cannot live in a vacuum. It needs some luck of timing and circumstance, and it must ultimately somehow fit in, or else it must define a whole new context, in the weave and evolution of today’s socio-economic fabric. The objective of this workshop will be to share ideas, and experiences, from more than 15 years in the mixed culture PHA production technology developments, with emphasis on recent challenges, successes, and bottlenecks.

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