Today, 8 per cent of all extracted crude oil is used directly for manufacturing of plastic materials because it is the only source of xylene, which is a key building block in PET (polyester). The annual global production of polyester is estimated at more than 80 million tonnes and thus accounts for close to 25 per cent of the world’s plastic consumption.
The Danish biotech company Pond has developed a technology that replaces the fossil raw material from which plastics have been produced over the past 100 years. By replacing crude oil with biomass, a fully bio-based, circular, and compostable material emerges.
The source of Pond’s material is carbohydrates and plant fibres, which in large quantities, among other things, are used in the same way as carbohydrates found in waste from the agricultural and food sectors.
In collaboration with clothing chains, the company has developed a technology that replaces polyester clothing fibres. Pond has recently launched a strategic partnership with Adidas with the aim of substituting fossil based plastic materials with plant-based raw materials and reducing the environmental impact of consumers footwear and apparel.
An LCA (life cycle assessment) of the material currently shows a four times reduction in CO2 emissions compared to fossil products. However, the material could potentially be considered as CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage), thus becoming CO2 positive. Microplastics in the ocean and on land are eliminated as the material is processed by organisms. The material has also proven to be suitable in biogas plants where bio coal constitutes a great potential for CO2 neutral aviation fuel and CCS in agricultural land.