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Bioplasticsfromcarbondioxide,newand
biodegradable

Timeisoverwhenmankind

articles

naturetoit
Carbondioxideisthe
finalproductofthe

Orderthebook
'GroeneGroei,Naar
demaatschappijvan
2040'(inDutch)by
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HoevenandPaul
Reinshagenthrough
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carboncycle,either
bybiological
processesorby
incineration.It
disappearsintothe
atmosphereoris
takenupinanew
photosyntheticcycle.
Itsmaineconomic
usesareinoil
recovery,beverages
andfire
Carbondioxidead
extinguishers.Andfor
quitesometime,inureaproduction.Andnowalsoinnew,
biodegradableCO2plastics.

createdwealthbysubjecting

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@Climate_Cop

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Doyoumissa
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Theproductionamountsareminuteasyet,andthecatalystsforthese
reactionstoproducethenewpolymersarestillbeingdeveloped.Itis
remarkablethatthearchitectsanddevelopersofthesenewmaterials
prefertodotherightthingstraightawaypreferablytheydonot
researchcobaltorcadmiumcontainingcatalysts,butratherthose
containingironorzinc.Or,asPeterStyring(SheffieldUniversity)putsit:
catalystsarethemostimportantcrossovertechnology,inusewith85%
ofallchemicalprocesses.

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Betterbiodegradable
Mostnewpolymersandtheirprocessesareintheresearchphaseasyet,
althoughSiemensshowedahouseholdappliance(avacuumcleaner
casing)atthissummersAchema,madefrompolypropylenecarbonate,
oneofthesenewCO2plastics.Oneoftheadvantagesofthiscategoryof
polymersisthatmostofthemarebiodegradableasaresultoftheoxygen
atominthechain.Thatmakesforbetterfoodtothebacteria.
ThefirstCO2plasticsonthemarketarepolypropyleneandpolyethylene
carbonate,andCO2urethanes.TheywerehotlydebatedatnovaInstituts
twodayCO2conferenceinEssen,inthefirsthalfofOctober.Theentire
CO2economywasdiscussedthere,withtheapplicationsandthewayof
acquittingCO2(seeourarticle,14October2012).CO2istheonly
feedstockwhichisreadilyandcheaplyavailableinEurope.

e d

s n

Anabsolute
breakthrough
Polypropylenecarbonate
(PPC),containing43%
CO2byweight,seems
tobethefirstimportant

http://www.biobasedpress.eu/2012/10/bioplastics-from-carbon-dioxide-new-and-biodegradable/

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6/27/2016

Bioplastics from carbon dioxide, new and biodegradable - Bio Based Press
Newpathwayforpolypropylenecarbonateproduction

polymerinthisnew
series.Itsproduction

nowincludespolymerizationofconventionalpropyleneoxide,from
naphtha,withCO2.Later(whenartificialphotosynthesiswillhavemadea
breakthrough),propyleneoxidewillbesynthesizedfromCO2itself,
throughmethanolasanintermediate.Bythattime,thepolymerwill
consistalmostentirelyofCO2,andwillbe100%biobased.Itisahighly
thermostablepolymer,veryelastic,transparent,biodegradable,non
toxic,containingamemory.Itcanbefoamedandprocessedintofilms,
andiseasilymixedwithotherbiopolymerslikepolylacticacid(PLA)and
polyhydroxyalkanoates(PHA)indoingso,theplasticbecomeslessbrittle,
approachinganengineeringplasticinitsproperties,butretainingits
biodegradability.Itcanbeprocessedonexistingmachines,likeextruders
andblowmouldingmachines.AmericanNovomercompany,inwhichDSM
participates,ownsimportantpatentsforthepolymerizationother
companiesareactiveinthisfieldaswell.AccordingtoBernardRieger(UT
Mnchen),PPCisanabsolutebreakthrough,andtheultimateanswerto
polypropylene.
Insulationfoam,matrasses,packagingmaterial
Theprocesstoproducepolyethylenecarbonate(PEC),anothernewCO2
plastic,includespolymerizationofethyleneoxidewithcarbondioxide.Itis
apolymerwithanevenhigherCO2contentbyweightthanPPC.Novomer
possessesthepatentsfortheproductionofthisbioplasticaswell.Ithasa
verylowoxygenpermeability,andisthereforeverywellsuitedforfood
packaging.IntheUSA,itisFoodContactApproved(AFC).
Polyurethanes,producedfrompolyolsandCO2,areanothernewclassof
carbondioxidepolymersindevelopment.Theywillinitiallybemarketedas
insulationfoamandmaterialsformattressproduction.ABayerpilotplant
fortheproductionofthismaterialhascomeonstreamBayerplansto
startcommercialproductionin2015.Alignitefactorysuppliesthe
requiredcarbondioxide.TechnicalUniversityAachen(RWTH)develops
catalystsforthisprocess.Inshort,manyGermanresearchresultsatthis
conferenceintheGermanRuhrarea.Asonewouldexpect,buttherestof
theworldareinthegameaswell.
Highhopes
Carbondioxidechemistryjustlikebiobasedpolymerproductionisnot
aboutcopyingfossilpolymers,butaboutdevelopingbetterpolymers,
whichcanbeprocessedonplasticsindustrysexistingdevices.Other
polymersthanthosementioned,likepolyhydroxybutyricacid(PHB)or
polycyclohexanecarbonate(PCHC)areinthepilotphase.Chemicalslike
formicacidonthevergeofabreakthrough.
Chemicalresearchersbuzzwithenthusiasm,andareeagertodevelopand
marketthesenewpolymers.Thebreakthroughofthelastnewpolymerin
themarketdatesfrom30yearsago,andtherearehighhopesthatsucha
cashcowwillbeamongstthesenewpolymers.BernardRieger,quoted
before,thinks:Weperformbetterthannatureitself.Althoughthe
amountsproducedasyetareminute.Thegrowthofnewmaterials,both
biobasedandbytheCO2pathway,isbyfarnotfastenoughtocover
demandofrenewablematerials.Letalonetomakeadentinthe
greenhouseeffect.
Tags:Biobasedpolymers,Innovation
By:PaulReinshagen
on:14October2012

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