Anaerobic digestion of starch-polyvinyl alcohol biopolymer packaging: biodegradability and environmental impact assessment

Guo, M. and Trzcinski, A. P. and Stuckey, D. C. and Murphy, R. J. (2011) Anaerobic digestion of starch-polyvinyl alcohol biopolymer packaging: biodegradability and environmental impact assessment. Bioresource Technology , 102 (24). pp. 11137-11146. ISSN 0960-8524

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The digestibility of a starch–polyvinyl alcohol (PVOH) biopolymer insulated cardboard coolbox was investigated under a defined anaerobic digestion (AD) system with key parameters characterized. Laboratory results were combined with industrial operational data to develop a site-specific life cycle assessment (LCA) model. Inoculated with active bacterial trophic groups, the anaerobic biodegradability of three starch–PVOH biopolymers achieved 58–62%. The LCA modeling showed that the environmental burdens of the starch–PVOH biopolymer packaging under AD conditions on acidification, eutrophication, global warming and photochemical oxidation potential were dominated by atmospheric emissions released from substrate degradation and fuel combustion, whereas energy consumption and infrastructure requirements were the causes of abiotic depletion, ozone depletion and toxic impacts. Nevertheless, for this bio-packaging, AD of the starch–PVOH biopolymer combined with recycling of the cardboard emerged as the environmentally superior option and optimization of the energy utilization system could bring further environmental benefits to the AD process.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Surveying and Land Information
Date Deposited: 10 Feb 2017 02:34
Last Modified: 20 Jul 2018 05:35
Uncontrolled Keywords: starch–PVOH biopolymer; anaerobic digestion; life cycle assessment
Fields of Research : 05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management
09 Engineering > 0907 Environmental Engineering > 090703 Environmental Technologies
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.biortech.2011.09.061

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