Jul 6, 2022
Episode #4. Techniques to evaluate novel, plant-based feedstock for plastics.
If we want to phase out crude oil, natural gas and coal as feedstock for plastics, we need to look at the alternatives. Plant oils are such an alternative. This episode shortly explains why this is the case. But we go further. What techniques do scientists use to evaluate these novel feedstocks on the viability? How do these work, and can they be improved? This episode discusses the scientific methods Multi-Criteria Decision making (MCDM) and Life Cycle Assessment (LCA).
NB. While we gave 1 example of how bio-based fats and oils are used to make plastics, there are several other routes, including for example ethylene cracking.
To do this, we have the following guests:
Dr. LI SHEN from the Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development of Utrecht University, the Netherlands. Li is an assistant professor and LCA practitioner, engineer and environmental scientist.
LAURA ÄKRÄS of the Polymer Technology group of Aalto University. Laura is a doctoral student and has a master’s degree in Fiber and Polymer engineering. Laura works on MCDM and LCA analyses of bio-based plastics.
Dr. JYRI MAUNUKSELA is a principle specialist at LUKE, the Natural Resources Institute Finland where he works in the Biorefinery and bioproducts group. He looks at the holistic sustainability of different alternatives for replacing fossil-based plastics.
The episode is hosted by BAS VAN BOCHOVE, a postdoctoral researcher from the polymer technology group of the School of Chemical Engineering at Aalto University. Bas has worked with polymerizations of novel biopolymers and contributed to the ValueBioMat project.
List of references we used for this episode:
1. Ohlrogge et al. The Biochemist. 2011, 33 (2), 34-38.
2. https://plasticseurope.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/Plastics-the-Facts-2021-web-final.pdf accessed 29.4.2022.
3. https://plasticseurope.org/plastics-explained/a-large-family/polyolefins-2/ accessed 29.3.2022.
4. Hillmyer. Science. 2017, 358 (6365), 868-870.
5. Danov et al. Catalysis Science & Technology. 2017, 7 (17), 3659-3675.
6. Di Mauro et al. Biomacromolecules. 2020, 21, 3923-3939.
7. Tran et al. Macromolecules. 2020, 53 (7), 2526-2538.
8. Rosenboom et al. Nature Reviews. 2022, 7, 117-137.
9. Thakkar et al. 2021. Multi-Criteria Decision Making, First edit. ed. Singapore: Springer.
10. Mardani et al. Expert Systems with Application. 2015, 42 (8), 4126-4148.
11. Gogate. Petroleum Science and Technology. 2019, 37(5), 559-565.
12. https://www.eia.gov/tools/faqs/faq.php?id=34&t=6 accessed 30.6.2022.
13. https://www.newsecuritybeat.org/2020/02/black-coal-white-trash/ accessed 30.6.2022.
Talking Plastics podcast is brought to you by Valuebiomat, to be found as @valuebiomat on twitter, valuebiomat on youtube, and on valuebiomat.fi. Valuebiomat is funded by the Strategic research Council (SRC) established within the Academy of Finland. You can find the Talking Podcast in Twitter as @TalkingPlastics, and contact us at TalkingPlasticsPodcast@gmail.com.