Thanks EDANA, the voice of nonwovens for such a fantastic NIA conference in Jyväskylä, Finland. It was a pleasure presenting and listening to industry scientists discuss opportunities, challenges, sustainability and emerging technologies within the nonwovens market.
Our CCO, Dr. Ross Ward, presented on Nonwoven Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHAs) – just one example of the biopolymers NIRI is helping to commercialise.
PHAs are natural polyester polymers synthesised by bacteria or archaea. As well as having renewability credentials, PHAs are 100% biodegradable and will biodegrade in industrial and ambient composting conditions and marine environments. This is a huge benefit as the existing leading commercially available biodegradable polymer, PLA is only industrially compostable.
Currently, PHAs have been too expensive for market entry. They have essentially been side-lined for years as synthetic polymers have always prevailed. Synthetics have been the preferred option for many products due to their cost, processibility and established manufacturing infrastructure. So with a with increased action to to reduce climate change and improve waste management approaches, PHAs have significant potential to help meet the global sustainability challenges we are facing as a society.
The presentation provided a snapshot of the current development and commercialisation progress, as well as opportunities, barriers and emerging technologies. Get in touch to find out more about the presentation and how NIRI can help you develop the next generation of sustainable products.