In this presentation we will discuss new types of biodegradable plastics that are produced from novel biomass-monomers. Biomass has a high oxygen content making it a useful feedstock for oxygenated monomers. The monomers include α,ω-diols, di-acids, a triol and a tetrol. Rigorous techno-economic analysis indicates that these monomers can be cost competitive and even cheaper than petroleumderived oxygenated monomers depending on the scale that they are produced. For example, furfural can undergo a series of 4 reactions to produce 1,5 pentanediol (1,5 PDO) which is being commercialized by Pyran (www.pyranco.com). These new biomass-based monomers allow the polymer scientist to create new types of polymers that have unique properties. In this project we will discuss how these biomassbased monomers can be used to create biodegradable polyesters. The most widely produced biodegradable polymer is polybutylene adipate terephthalate (PBAT) which has a current market worth over 1 billion dollars PBAT is an aromatic-aliphatic polyester. Production of PBAT is growing because of the need to create biodegradable polymers in several application such as agricultural mulching and other bag materials. However, PBAT has worse mechanical properties compared to flexible polyolefins such as LDPE. In this presentation we descripe how biomass-based monomers can improve the mechanical properties of aromatic-aliphatic polyesters by over 75% while still retaining the biodegradable properties of the polymer. Biomass-based monomers also allow the creation of other types of unique polymers such as low melting point high oxygen barrier materials that may be of use in barrier films.
Announcement: Guest Lecture in April!
We are happy to welcome our friends Prof. Huber and Prof. Grady for a guest lecture titled "Biodegradable Biomass-Based Polyesters" on Friday, 14 April 2023, at 11 a.m. (UTC +1).