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Article

Bio-Based Polyisoprene Can Mitigate Climate Change and Deforestation in Expanding Rubber Production

1
Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Technion—Israel Institute of Technology, Haifa 3200003, Israel
2
Technology Holding LLC, Salt Lake City, UT 84119, USA
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Francesco Grieco
Received: 10 August 2021 / Revised: 14 September 2021 / Accepted: 15 September 2021 / Published: 23 September 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fermentations as the Key Process for Bioplastic and Bioeconomy)
Biomass is a promising renewable feedstock to produce polyisoprene for the rubber industry. Through metabolic engineering, sugars derived from pretreated and hydrolyzed cellulose and hemicellulose can be directly fermented to isoprene to produce rubber. Here we investigate the life cycle environmental impact of isoprene fermentation to produce bio-polyisoprene from agricultural residues (of Zea mays L.). Results show that the greenhouse gas (GHG) intensity of bio-polyisoprene (−4.59 kg CO2e kg−1) is significantly lower than that of natural rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) and synthetic rubber (−0.79 and 2.41 kg CO2e kg−1, respectively), while supporting a circular biogenic carbon economy. We found the land use intensity of bio-polyisoprene to be 0.25 ha metric ton−1, which is 84% lower than that from rubber tree plantations. We compare the direct fermentation to isoprene results with indirect fermentation to isoprene through the intermediate, methyl butyl ether, where dehydration to isoprene is required. The direct fermentation of isoprene reduces reaction steps and unit operations, an expected outcome when employing process intensification, but our results show additional energy conservation and reduced contribution to climate change. Among the ReCiPe life cycle environmental impact metrics evaluated, air emission related impacts are high for bio-polyisoprene compared to those for natural and synthetic rubber. Those impacts can be reduced with air emission controls during production. All other metrics showed an improvement for bio-polyisoprene compared to natural and synthetic rubber. View Full-Text
Keywords: bio-polyisoprene; life cycle assessment; agricultural residues; circular economy bio-polyisoprene; life cycle assessment; agricultural residues; circular economy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Batten, R.; Karanjikar, M.; Spatari, S. Bio-Based Polyisoprene Can Mitigate Climate Change and Deforestation in Expanding Rubber Production. Fermentation 2021, 7, 204. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fermentation7040204

AMA Style

Batten R, Karanjikar M, Spatari S. Bio-Based Polyisoprene Can Mitigate Climate Change and Deforestation in Expanding Rubber Production. Fermentation. 2021; 7(4):204. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fermentation7040204

Chicago/Turabian Style

Batten, Rahamim, Mukund Karanjikar, and Sabrina Spatari. 2021. "Bio-Based Polyisoprene Can Mitigate Climate Change and Deforestation in Expanding Rubber Production" Fermentation 7, no. 4: 204. https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/fermentation7040204

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