Comparative Life Cycle Studies on Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate)-Based Composites as Potential Replacement for Conventional Petrochemical Plastics

M. Pietrini, A.L. Roes, M.K. Patel, E. Chiellini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A cradle-to-grave environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) of a few poly(3-hydroxybutyrate) (PHB) based composites has been performed and was compared to commodity petrochemical polymers. The end products studied are a cathode ray tube (CRT) monitor housing (conventionally produced from high-impact polystyrene, HIPS) and the internal panels of an average car (conventionally produced from glass-fibers-filled polypropylene, PP-GF). The environmental impact is evaluated on the basis of nonrenewable energy use (NREU) and global warming potential over a 100 years time horizon (GWP100). Sugar cane bagasse (SCB) and nanoscaled organophilic montmorillonite (OMMT) are used as PHB fillers. The results obtained show that, despite the unsatisfying mechanical properties of PHB composites, depending on the type of filler and on the product, it is possible to reach lower environmental impacts than by use of conventional petrochemical polymers. These savings are mainly related to the PHB production process, while there are no improvements related to composites preparation. SCB-based composites seem to be environmentally superior to clay-based ones.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)2210-2218
Number of pages9
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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