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Polymers 2018, 10(7), 751;

Wood-PHA Composites: Mapping Opportunities

School of Chemical Engineering, University of Queensland, St. Lucia, QSD 4072, Australia
Promiko AB, 23442 Lomma, Sweden
Norske Skog Paper Mills (Australia) Ltd., Boyer, TAS 7140, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 June 2018 / Revised: 2 July 2018 / Accepted: 3 July 2018 / Published: 7 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in Bioplastics)
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Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA) biopolymers are emerging as attractive new sustainable polymers due to their true biodegradability and highly tuneable mechanical properties. However, despite significant investments, commercialisation barriers are hindering the capacity growth of PHA. In this work, we investigated the market potential for wood plastic composites (WPCs) based on PHAs. We considered the latest global production capacity of PHAs, estimated at 66,000 tonnes/year, and examined the implications of using PHAs for WPC production on the WPC market. Results indicate that a hypothetical usage of the current global PHA production for WPC manufacture would only represent the equivalent of 4.4% of the global WPC market, which is currently experiencing a 10.5% compounded annual growth rate. An economic assessment revealed that a wood-PHA composite as a drop-in alternative WPC product could cost as little as 37% of the cost of its neat PHA counterpart. Thus, WPCs with PHA offer a means to access benefits of PHA in engineering applications at reduced costs; however, further developments are required to improve strain at failure. The successful adoption of wood-PHA composites into the market is furthermore reliant on support from public sector to encourage biodegradable products where recycling is not a ready solution. View Full-Text
Keywords: polyhydroxyalkanoates; PHA; PHBV; biocomposites; wood plastic composites; WPC; economics; applications; market study polyhydroxyalkanoates; PHA; PHBV; biocomposites; wood plastic composites; WPC; economics; applications; market study

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Vandi, L.-J.; Chan, C.M.; Werker, A.; Richardson, D.; Laycock, B.; Pratt, S. Wood-PHA Composites: Mapping Opportunities. Polymers 2018, 10, 751.

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