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Issue 06/2018

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From Science & Research

From Science & Research allocation of 30 % and shows land use ranges for PLA capacity in 2017 from 75,000 hectares down to 38,000 hectares, if another source of feedstock (sugar cane) would be used. Summarizing, having single changes in fluctuations and raw material yield assumptions by each, results in a range between 38,000 and almost 115,000 hectares of land, which is necessary to produce exactly the same amount of PLA. Looking at different approaches to feedstock yield and how it affects land use calculation of recent PLA capacities, there is a tremendous variation in results to be found. By the means of feedstock yields, land use ranges from -30 % to +30 % and using another feedstock source varies results up to -57 % compared to the base calculation. Thus, results of land use calculations can range as high as the amount and range of possible impact factors. This is to be kept in mind, if not only one but two or more impact factors at the same time are applied, which will multiply and lead to further increased ranges. Accumulating all ‘best case’ factors in this scenario would correspond to a theoretical land use of 25,000 hectares of PLA (-76 % against base calculation). Now, how do we calculate accurately? Concerning deviations in results due to differing impact factors and also keeping in mind, that there is no ‚common sense‘ cut-off-rule for renewable feedstocks (not even in life cycle assessments), there is still more work needed on this topic. The shown examples could help to assess land use of bioplastics in a more realistic approach but as all data gathered by IfBB is openly accessible, further adaptations to the calculation of land use can be made individually, if needed. At this point, it should be mentioned that, despite the negligible amount of land use, even without a more realistic approach of calculation, there is no reason for the industry to rest on it. The pressure on agricultural land in the coming decades due to the growing world population, the loss and erosion of cultivated land will increase, and thus bioplastics will not be able to escape discussion. But there is a major advantage here: The development of bioprocessing technology increases the possibility of large-scale use of alternative renewable raw materials, which can be grown on barren soils, as well as arising new building blocks and the decomposition of organic waste streams as the starting point for the (re-)synthesis of biobased polymers is a foreseeable future. However, the primary goal for all biobased plastics, as well as for the plastics industry as a whole, should be to create intelligent material cycles and to achieve higher recycling rates. If the need for virgin material was to be reduced effectively, fewer resources would be needed to keep the plastic circle rolling. Saving raw materials could also be a way to keep the land use impact of bioplastics on a low level, when the emerging trend steadies or increases in the near future, to produce larger quantities of usually petro-based plastics from now available biobased building blocks (drop-ins). More information can be found in IfBB’s annualy updated publication of Biopolymers. Facts and statistics. It can be downloaded for free at: Table 1 Material group Producer To tal annual capacity [t] Calculations PLA A B C Land use factor [ha / t] Multiplication Equals To tal annual land use [ha] 240,000 0.368 88,300 Figure 2 Sample process route select desired feedstock/crop, i.e. sugar cane or sugar beet land use for 1 t of resulting polymer feedstock/crop 0.09 ha 1 387 m³ Sugar cane 6.62 t or 0.09 ha 711 m³ Sugar beet 5.37 t water usage for feedstock/crop amount raw material Sugar 0.86 t (chemical) process process inputs H2O Microorg. Fermentation CO2 Filtration H2O Microbial mass intermediate product resource has petro-based origin 1,4-BDO 0.52 t Succinic acid * 0.69 t Esterification Polycondensation H2O 0.10 t H2O 0.10 t process outputs PBS bb SCA 1.00 t resulting polymer 44 bioplastics MAGAZINE [06/18] Vol. 13

Automotive 10 Published in bioplastics MAGAZINE Years ago In November 2018, Marco Jansen, Commercial Director Renewable Chemicals Europe & North America of Braskem says: We remain committed to develop biobased solutions to offer more sustainable products for our clients. Earlier this year we announced investment into a demo plant for biobased MEG, opening a 2 nd biotech lab in Boston as well as launching the world’s first biobased EVA. Biobased Polypropylene is not yet launched but remains one of our potential future sustainable solutions.

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