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Issue 06/2018

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Bioplastics from waste

Bioplastics from waste streams By: Vlaďka Matušková Project Manager NAFIGATE Corporation, a.s. Prague, Czech Republic Waste Cooking Oil as a Source for PHA Low quality waste cooking oil (WCO) has traditionally been regarded as a low-value waste product, unfit for further use. Not by Czech company NAFIGATE Corporation, however, whose Hydal Biotechnology uses 100 % waste in the form of waste cooking oil to produce fully biodegradable PHA biopolymer. The company uses oil also as a source of energy, making biopolymer significantly more affordable than bioplastics manufactured from the so-called firstgeneration feedstock, such as corn or sugar cane. Hence, the technology is Zero Waste with 50 % less energy consumption than conventional polyethylene (PE). Nafigate Corporation’s innovative and patented Hydal biotechnology has won global acclaim, earning, for example, the 2015 Frost and Sullivan Technology Innovation Award, Seal of Excellence, as well as being named one of the Top 10 products in China. It is a technology for upcycling: it takes a waste product and transforms this into a completely different product – a biopolymer. The company’s strategy is based on a production system that is aimed at closing the loop, in line with the key principle of the concept of the Circular Economy, which is to retain the value of a material as long as possible within the cycle. Moreover, the environmental aspects of this breakthrough technology have been analysed with the help of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), the only tool to objectively assess the impacts of Hydal PHA manufacturing on the environment. Due to the Zero Waste production system and use of waste material, the LCA demonstrated a significant positive effect of the production of PHB polymers from Waste Cooking Oil using Hydal’s environmental biotechnology. Compared to polymers made from first generation feedstock and conventional polyethylene, Hydal PHA production does not result in the depletion of natural resources, has a smaller CO 2 footprint and is not associated with ecotoxicity, freshwater toxicity, acidification, eutrophication and other negative environmental impacts. The final biopolymer can be used in various fields, including for bioplastics production. Another key area is the cosmetics industry, for which Hydal PHA provides ideal properties. Hydal PHA is offered in the form of a whole range of P3HB particles with a nano surface area of up to 8 m 2 /g. According to the certified analysis, the purity of the final biopolymer – P3HB or PHBV – is higher than 99 %, with a high molecular weight. Recently, the company in cooperation with Nafigate Cosmetics launched a new product - Coconut shower peeling milk, in which microbeads have been replaced with Hydal P3HB. As a new cosmetics eco-design concept, it is being market under the name “Dedicated to You and Nature” to reflect its biodegradable and biocompatible properties. PHA can be also used in the medical sector, since P3HB particles of varying sizes are able to act as transport systems for active substances. P3HB is additionally approved for medical purposes by the FDA. Hydal PHA enables the production of microfibres with a nano surface area of 30-40 m 2 /g. Agriculture is another area, in which Hydal PHA may find application. Hydal PHA-based enhanced efficiency fertiliser represents controlled-release fertilizers, which gradually supply the nutrients to the soil. This controlled-release technology results in some 50 % less fertiliser being needed compared to conventional methods (fertilizers are coated with PHA). Furthermore, waste biomass from the production process offers another source for fertiliser manufacturing, while last but not least, phosphorus from the production process can be recycled. 20 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/18] Vol. 13

Bioplastics from waste streams Life Cycle Assessment on PHB production from Used Cooking Oil 100 80 60 40 20 -0 -20 -40 -60 -80 -100 Abiotic depletion Abiotic depletion (fossil fuels) Global warming (GWP 100a) Global warming (GWP 100a) Human toxicity Fresh water aquatic ecotox. Marine aquatic ecotoxicity Terrestrial ecotoxicity Photochemical oxidation Acidification Eutrophication PHB LDPE, granulate Polylactide, granulate Method: CML-IA baseline V3.05/EU25/Characterization bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/18] Vol. 13 21

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