With volatile oil prices and growing concerns about greenhouse gas emissions, the chemical industry is looking for renewable alternatives to diversify its sources of raw materials. Sugarcane ethanol has emerged as an important ingredient to substitute for petroleum in the production of plastic.
According to the Science and Technology Daily, it is reported that Sao Paulo Research Foundation of Brazil and the University of Sao Paulo are actively promoting the production of Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) by using sugarcane ethanol or the bagasse ethanol. PHA is a type of biodegradable plastic, which can be generateed by the fermentation in plant residue.
Another form of bioplastic is polyhydroxybutyrate (or PHB), manufactured by PHB Industrial S/A using 100% Brazilian technology. This bioplastic, which goes by the branded name Biocycle, is produced entirely from sugarcane bagasse, making it completely biodegradable and compostable. Biocycle can be used in autoparts, cosmetics packaging, toys, credit cards, cutlery, agricultural parts and more.
Sugarcane polyethylene ( CAS:9002-88-4 )replaces 30 percent or more of the petroleum that would otherwise be used to manufacture the plastic. Each metric ton of bio – polyethylene produced avoids the emission of 2 to 2.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide on a lifecycle basis.
These so-called “bioplastics” have the same physical and chemical properties as regular plastic (the most common type is known technically as PET) and maintain full recycling capabilities. Use of bioplastics is still developing. But a number of leading companies have established themselves as major players in this emerging area.