Carbon footprint of bioplastics using biocarbon content analysis and life-cycle assessment

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • 22 Citations

Abstract

Bio-based plastics, in which the fossil carbon is replaced by bio/renewable-based carbon, offer the intrinsic value proposition of a reduced carbon footprint and are in complete harmony with the rates and time scale of the biological carbon cycle. Identification and quantification of bio-based content is based on the radioactive C-14 signature associated with (new) biocarbon. Using experimentally determined biocarbon content values, one can calculate the intrinsic CO2 emissions reduction achieved by substituting petrocarbon with biocarbon—the material carbon footprint value proposition. The process carbon footprint arising from the conversion of feedstock to final product is computed using life-cycle assessment methodology. Biodegradability in conjunction with selected disposal systems such as composting and anaerobic digestion offers an end-of-life solution to completely remove the plastic substrate from the environment. Not all bio-based polymer materials are biodegradable, and not all biodegradable polymers are bio-based. Most importantly, complete biodegradability (complete utilization of the polymer by the microorganisms present in the disposal environment) is necessary as per ASTM and ISO standards, otherwise there could be serious health and environmental consequences.

LanguageEnglish (US)
Pages716-721
Number of pages6
JournalMRS Bulletin
Volume36
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011

Profile

Carbon footprint
footprints
Life cycle
Carbon
Biodegradability
cycles
carbon
Polymers
biodegradability
Plastics
disposal
Biodegradable polymers
Composting
Anaerobic digestion
Carbon Monoxide
polymers
Waste disposal
Microorganisms
plastics
composting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Science(all)
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry

Cite this

Carbon footprint of bioplastics using biocarbon content analysis and life-cycle assessment. / Narayan, Ramani.

In: MRS Bulletin, Vol. 36, No. 9, 2011, p. 716-721.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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