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bioplasticsMAGAZINE_1205

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Polyurethanes /

Polyurethanes / Elastomers Renewable Building Blocks for Polyurethanes Bio-based succinic acid has emerged as one of the most competitive of the new bio-based chemicals. As a platform chemical, bio-based succinic acid has a wide range of applications, including in polyurethanes, coatings, adhesives and sealants, personal care, flavours and food. BioAmber (Minneapolis, Minnesota) has demonstrated that bio-based succinic acid can be used as a replacement for petroleum-based adipic acid in polyester polyols, with equivalent performance and differentiated functionality. Thermoplastic polyurethanes made using BioAmber bio-based succinic acid exhibit higher glass transition temperatures, equating to higher crystallinity, which can be a benefit in applications such as adhesives. Due to the higher density of ester groups, succinate polyesters also exhibit more hard-phase to soft-phase interaction than those with polybutylene adipate. In addition to the differentiated performance benefits of succinate polyesters, bio-based succinic acid also offers a better carbon footprint. BioAmber’s bio-based succinic acid gives a 99% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and a 50% reduction in energy savings compared to petroleumbased adipic acid. The bio-based succinic acid is also used as a building block for the large volume chemical intermediate 1,4-butanediol (BDO), which is both a monomer for polyols and a chain extender for polyurethane formulations. Combining biobased succinic acid with bio-based 1,4-BDO gives polyester polyols with even numbered carbons based on 100% renewable building blocks. Combining BioAmber’s biobased succinic acid with 1,3-propanediol (1,3-PDO) gives a polyester polyol with an odd numbered alcohol. The options of odd and even pairings are expected to have significantly different physical properties, offering formulation flexibility over a range of properties. With both bio-based succinic acid and bio-based 1,4-BDO, BioAmber offers polyurethane manufacturers formulation flexibility with the highest levels of renewable carbon. The company has already scaled up its hydrogenation catalyst technology under license from DuPont and converted multi-ton quantities of bio-based succinic acid into 100% bio-based 1,4-butanediol (BDO), terahydrofuran (THF) and gamma-butyrolactone (GBL), using bio-based succinic acid from its commercial plant in Pomacle, France. BioAmber is building industrial capacity for both bio-based succinic acid and bio-based 1,4-BDO in Sarnia, Canada and in Thailand, with its manufacturing partner, Mitsui & Co., to meet projected market demand for a new family of succinate polyurethanes with differentiated functionality and reduced carbon footprint. MT www.bio-amber.com 42 bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/12] Vol. 7

Basics No ‘greenwashing‘ with bioplastics European Bioplastics publishes ‘Environmental Communications Guide‘ By Kristy-Barbara Lange Head of Communications European Bioplastics Berlin, Germany The emotional debate about our future in the face of increasingly serious environmental problems has left its mark. The consumer is sensitized and willing to contribute his or her share. The willingness to contribute to environmental protection goes along with an increasing demand for truthful, accurate and easy to verify information on products that claim a reduced impact on the environment. The demand for simple information is high, especially for complex products such as bioplastics and products made thereof. However, breaking down complex properties and expert language into easily understandable claims is a challenge – particularly in the face of international standards giving strict guidelines for environmental communication. European Bioplastics has taken on this topic with the goal to strengthen accurate environmental communication within the bioplastics industry. The association just published its ‘Environmental Communications Guide’ (ECG), which was developed by an international ad hoc working group within the last six months. Next to general guidelines for environmental communication the brochure offers recommendations regarding relevant claims for bioplastics such as biobased, biodegradable, compostable or CO 2 -neutral. Recommendations are illustrated by a number of examples. Focusing on safeguarding good communication along the entire value chain of bioplastics, the ECG is intended to be a practical help to marketing and communications professionals striving to present the innovation of bioplastics correctly according to the status quo and without neglecting its ample untapped potential. The Guide is available in English language (see info-box below). Sample page from the ECG Info: In addition there will be a half-day ‘Environmental Communications Workshop’ in Berlin on Nov. 05. More info as well as the download of the Guide can be found at www.european-bioplastics.org/ecg bioplastics MAGAZINE [05/12] Vol. 7 43

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