Biobased polymers – optimization for performance, sustainability, and value dilemma
In developing biorenewable polymers many technical challenges have been overcome by industry only to realize that cost, availability of biobased raw materials, and valued sustainable benefits are even larger barriers. Though several commercial paints claiming biorenewable content have entered the market, their adoption has been modest at best. To truly gain mass adoption by the market, it is theorized that a biorenewable polymer must be capable of delivering valued performance while being sustainably advantaged. Data will be presented on an experimental acrylic emulsion polymer based on biorenewable feedstock that is traceable via Carbon-14 into the actual product which is balanced for performance, relative value, and sustainability. Analysis will include the paint performance versus other petroleum based commercial acrylic, styrene-acrylic, and vinyl-acetate-ethylene copolymer emulsions. Additionally, Life Cycle Inventory Assessment models were developed for these polymers and a comparison of their environmental impacts will be reviewed.