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Scale-up and Sustainability Evaluation of Biopolymer Production from Citrus Waste Offering Carbon Capture and Utilisation Pathway

Lookup NU author(s): Mohamad Gunam Resul, Abdul Rehman, Ana Fernandez, Professor Adam Harvey



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0).


©2019 The Authors. Published by Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA. Poly(limonene carbonate) (PLC) has been highlighted as an attractive substitute to petroleum derived plastics, due to its utilisation of CO 2 and bio-based limonene as feedstocks, offering an effective carbon capture and utilisation pathway. Our study investigates the techno-economic viability and environmental sustainability of a novel process to produce PLC from citrus waste derived limonene, coupled with an anaerobic digestion process to enable energy cogeneration and waste recovery maximisation. Computational process design was integrated with a life cycle assessment to identify the sustainability improvement opportunities. PLC production was found to be economically viable, assuming sufficient citrus waste is supplied to the process, and environmentally preferable to polystyrene (PS) in various impact categories including climate change. However, it exhibited greater environmental burdens than PS across other impact categories, although the environmental performance could be improved with a waste recovery system, at the cost of a process design shift towards energy generation. Finally, our study quantified the potential contribution of PLC to mitigating the escape of atmospheric CO 2 concentration from the planetary boundary. We emphasise the importance of a holistic approach to process design and highlight the potential impacts of biopolymers, which is instrumental in solving environmental problems facing the plastic industry and building a sustainable circular economy.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Durkin A, Taptygin I, Kong Q, Gunam Resul MFM, Rehman A, Fernandez AML, Harvey AP, Shah N, Guo M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: ChemistryOpen

Year: 2019

Volume: 8

Issue: 6

Pages: 668-688

Print publication date: 01/06/2019

Online publication date: 07/03/2019

Acceptance date: 01/04/2016

Date deposited: 21/06/2019

ISSN (electronic): 2191-1363

Publisher: Wiley-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA


DOI: 10.1002/open.201900015


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