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PEF plastic synthesized from industrial carbon dioxide and biowaste.

Jiang, L. and Gonzalez-Diaz, A. and Ling-Chin, J. and Malik, A. and Roskilly, A. P. and Smallbone, A. J. (2020) 'PEF plastic synthesized from industrial carbon dioxide and biowaste.', Nature sustainability., 3 (9). pp. 761-767.


Polyethylene furandicarboxylate (PEF) is considered as a renewable-based solution to its fossil-based counterpart polyethylene terephthalate (PET). However, due to its lengthy and energy-intensive production process, PEF has not been established at a commercial scale. Here we present a new study on PEF produced from industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions and non-food-derived biomass to provide an alternative for PET. We assess PEF production from an energy consumption, environmental impacts and production cost point of view at an industrial scale using mass and energy balance, life-cycle assessment and payback period. The results show that emissions and energy consumption can be reduced up to 40.5% compared with PET. Abiotic depletion (fossil) (6.90 × 104 MJ), global-warming potential (3.75 × 103 kg CO2-equivalent) and human toxicity potential (2.18 × 103 kg 1,4-dichlorobenzene equivalent) are the three most substantial impacts in producing one tonne of PEF. By applying optimal design and mature technology, PEF produced from industrial CO2 and biowastes could be a feasible and competitive substitute for PET and other materials.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Date accepted:06 May 2020
Date deposited:02 June 2020
Date of first online publication:01 June 2020
Date first made open access:01 December 2020

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