New Bioplastic Manufacturing Process Lowers Emissions, Energy

New Bioplastic Manufacturing Process Lowers Emissions, Energy

Bioplastic manufacturer NatureWorks is now churning out its Ingeo bioplastic with fewer carbon dioxide emissions and less energy consumption.

The company commissioned a new manufacturing process last year, and that process now lowers the carbon dioxide emissions from manufacturing by 60 percent and cuts energy needed by 30 percent, compared to previous Ingeo production.

This further lowers the impacts from making bioplastic compared to both virgin PET plastic and recycled PET.

Making PET emits 3.4 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of resin produced, and Ingeo emits .77 kilograms of CO2 per kilogram of resin, or 77 percent less. Ingeo also consumes about 56 percent less energy,

Earlier this year, Ingeo announced the results of a study looking at the lifecycle environmental impacts of various types of plastic clamshell containers: Ingeo, PET and recycled PET. The study was commissioned by NatureWorks and conducted by the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research in Heidelberg, Germany.

Both Ingeo and recycled PET have smaller environmental impacts than virgin PET, though Ingeo also leads to fewer greenhouse gas emissions and energy use than recycled PET.

Ingeo, though, requires the use of farm land to produce and the lifecycle analysis found it has higher environmental impacts related to acidification and land and water eutrophication, or increase of chemical nutrients in an ecosystem.

Due to NatureWorks’ new, less-energy-intensive manufacturing, the company has decided to stop purchasing renewable energy credits. From 2006-2008, NatureWorks bought renewable energy credits to make up for the energy and emissions related to Ingeo production.

Clamshell packages photo – CC license by jsc?