Bio-based chemicals - green, but also sustainable?

Ólafur Ögmundarson, Markus Herrgard, Jochen Förster, Peter Fantke

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Abstract

For almost two decades, the chemical industry has put great effort into developing bio-chemicals,among others to fight global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions, one of the biggest threats that are faced by our society today. To facilitate a growing and versatile bio-based chemical production, the US Department of Energy proposed in 2004 a list of 12 building block chemicals which can either be converged through biological or chemical conversions. Moving toward more bio-based chemicals, the chemical industry does not only claim to reduce climate change impacts, but also that they are increasing overall sustainability in
chemical production. Whether such claims are justifiable is unclear. When sustainability of bio-based polymer production is assessed, various environmental trade-offs occur that need to be considered. It is not enough to claim that a bio-chemical is sustainable by exclusively looking at reduced
global warming impacts related to avoiding oil refining and related greenhouse gas emissions. However, there is big variation of which impacts are assessed
and which life cycle stages are included between existing published studies
focusing on assessing environmental sustainability of bio-based polymers.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventATV Sustain conference -
Duration: 30 Nov 201630 Nov 2016

Conference

ConferenceATV Sustain conference
Period30/11/201630/11/2016

Cite this

Ögmundarson, Ó., Herrgard, M., Förster, J., & Fantke, P. (2016). Bio-based chemicals - green, but also sustainable?. Abstract from ATV Sustain conference, .