A Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) conducted by the Nova Institute has reportedly concluded that the use of Avantium’s plant-based PEF (polyethylene furanoate) in 250ml and 500ml bottles would significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Nova’s study, supposedly peer-reviewed by experts of LCA methodology and incumbent packaging solutions, evaluated sixteen impact categories covering the cradle-to-grave life cycle of a PEF bottle. The results suggest that its production would lower the resource consumption of fossil fuels by 45%, and that the light-weighting made possible by PEF’s mechanical properties would reduce the pressure on abiotic resources (such as minerals and metals) by 47%.
PEF is also suited to multilayer packaging, the LCA claims. Its ‘passive barrier for O2 and CO2’ is said to increase products’ shelf life and reduce the amount of protective packaging required, lowering wastage in both product and packaging.
Another segment of the LCA apparently proved that replacing the PA layer of multilayer bottles with PEF could result in a 37% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, largely because the former would result in recyclable packaging. Making the replacement would also reduce the resource demand of fossil fuels by 37% and minerals and metals by 52%, Nova claims.
Reportedly, the commercialisation and growth of the PEF market would result in ‘substantial economic, technological, and environmental optimisations covering the full value chain’. It also suggests that replacing plant-based feedstock with second-generation biomass and other lignocellulosic feedstocks would be beneficial in this event. On the other hand, it is argued that PET bottles are more efficient with regard to feedstock supply.
Earlier this year, Avantium was granted approval to build a flagship plant to produce furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), providing them with the ‘main building block’ behind the creation of PEF.