Brazil Used Sugarcane Bagasse To Produce Plastic

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.

 

The Properties Of Polyethylene

 

Polyethylene (abbreviated PE) or polythene (IUPAC name polyethene or poly(ethylene) ) is the most common plastic. As the name implies, it is chemically synthesized from molecules that contain long chains of ethylene, a monomer that provides the ability to double bond with other carbon-based monomers to form polymers. The annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons. Its primary use is within packaging (plastic bag, plastic films, geomembranes, etc.). Many kinds of polyethylene are known, but they almost always have the chemical formula (C2H2)nH2.

Most people may have heard and seen the two most common forms of this polymer: Low-density polyethylene (LDPE) and high-density polyethylene (HDPE). Since its properties of the former contain a greater degree of long chain branching, the matrix is less dense and doesn’t offer as much tensile strength as the latter. Since this is the case, LDPE is less expensive to produce and process than similar polymers.

HDPE, on the other hand, is a more durable grade of polyethylene due to a higher density and linear crystallization. The properties of this material make it suitable for use in producing many types of stress-resistant plastics intended for consumer and commercial use. For example, HDPE is used to make gallon-sized milk containers, as well as plumbing fixtures.

Except density, molecular weight, and stress resistance, other properties are considered to rate function and application. These include shock or impact strength, shear rate — rate of polymer melt and flow — and sag resistance, which refers to how the material holds up to melting and remolding. All of these factors impact how the material will perform during processing. In addition, since much of the raw material used in the plastics industry today may come from recycled polymer resins, polyethylene properties can vary widely, even between different batches presented as the same material.

While polyethylene is essential to the economic health of the plastics industry, most consumers readily recognize the role it plays in everyday life. In fact, this substance is found in many ordinary household items, such as food wrap, shampoo bottles, milk containers, toys, and the common plastic bag used to tote groceries home from the store. However, PE is also present in numerous other products that contain plastic components. For instance, it is used to manufacture artificial knee and hip replacement parts, bulletproof vests, and even glassy flooring for ice skating rinks.

Unfortunately, its environmental impact is cause for concern. For one thing, poly(ethylene) does not readily biodegrade and can reside in a landfill for hundreds of years. However, diligent recycling may significantly reduce this problem. In addition, scientists are exploring the possibility of employing Sphingomonas, an aerobic bacteria shown to shorten biodegrading of some forms of polyethylene to just a few months. Environmental preservation efforts have also led to the development of bioplastics, with the aim of synthesizing the polymer from ethanol obtained from sugarcane.