Climate and biodiversity impacts of low-density polyethylene production from CO2 and electricity in comparison to bio-based polyethylene

Lauri Leppäkoski, Gabriel Lopez, Ville Uusitalo, Harri Nieminen, Natasha Järviö, Antti Kosonen, Tuomas Koiranen, Arto Laari, Christian Breyer, Jero Ahola

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4 Citas (Scopus)

Resumen

Plastics are essential materials for modern societies, but their production contributes to significant environmental issues. Power-to-X processes could produce plastics from captured CO2 and hydrogen with renewable electricity, but these technologies may also face challenges from environmental perspective. This paper focuses on environmental sustainability assessment of CO2-based low-density polyethylene (LDPE) compared to bio-based LDPE. Life cycle assessment has been applied to study climate impacts and land use related biodiversity impacts of different plastic production scenarios. According to the climate impact results, the carbon footprint of the produced plastic can be negative if the energy used is from wind, solar, or bioenergy and the carbon captured within the plastic is considered. In terms of biodiversity, land-use related biodiversity impacts seem to be lower from CO2-based polyethylene compared to sugarcane-based polyethylene. Forest biomass use for heat production in CO2-based polyethylene poses a risk to significantly increase biodiversity impacts. Taken together, these results suggest that CO2-based LDPE produced with renewable electricity could reduce biodiversity impacts over 96 % while carbon footprint seems to be 6.5 % higher when compared to sugarcane-based polyethylene.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículo163628
PublicaciónScience of the Total Environment
Volumen882
DOI
EstadoPublicada - 15 jul. 2023
Publicado de forma externa

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