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About achieving performance with natural means
In the past few years, we have registered a trend towards an increasing utilization of bio-plastics. One reason is a rise in public interest concerning nature conservation, resulting in stricter government regulations. Another decisive reason is the interest of companies to free themselves from the dependence on dwindling crude oil resources.
Life Cycle Assessments
In order to quantify the sustainability of new bio-based products against existing products, detailed life cycle assessments (LCA) have been conducted. At Evonik Industries AG, a team of LCA practitioners has been certified to conduct LCAs. For polymers, the scope generally chosen is the “the cradle-to-factory gate” (hence pellets) approach and focus is currently placed on determining the global warming potential, the so-called carbon footprint (CO2eq). The reduction is currently attributed to the natural carbon cycle of biomass crops. With further optimization of process conditions and supply chain, the values can be lowered even further. Employing products derived from biomass is becoming one of the most important methods in which companies and corporations can meet their sustainable development goals and ambitions. Hereby, VESTAMID® Terra supports the reduction in finite fossil fuel usage (especially naphtha) by using renewable resources.
Food vs. Fuel / High-Tech Plastics from the Field
Compared to other bio-based raw materials, castor oil is no issue in the debate on “food versus fuel”. Its plant is neither used as food nor animal feed and its cultivation area rarely clashes with that of foodstuff as only 0.03% of the global fertile land is used for growing plants for the bioplastics industry. What’s more, the castor plant has been cultivated for centuries, above all in areas unsuitable for other agricultural crop thanks to its drought resistance. Another advantage is that cultivating the plant requires very low quantities of fertilizers although the plant has not been subjected to genetic modification.