30. Aug 2023

Biobased polymers as carbon storage in construction

Biobased polymers as carbon storage in construction

Neste (Espoo, Finland), LyondellBasell (Rotterdam, the Netherlands), Biofibre (Altdorf, Germany), and Naftex (Wiesmoor, Germany) have created a value chain to combine biobased polymers with natural fibre for the manufacturing of construction elements.

The combination of polymers with measurable biobased content and natural fibre in construction elements creates carbon storage which can help tackle climate change.

The cooperation sees Neste provide renewable Neste RE, a feedstock for polymers production made 100 % from biobased materials such as waste and residues, to LyondellBasell. LyondellBasell processes the feedstock into CirculenRenew C14 polypropylene with measurable biobased content as part of the company’s CirculenRenew portfolio. The polypropylene is then used by Biofibre to produce natural fibre reinforced plastics granules. In the final step, Naftex extrudes these granules into construction elements such as posts for fences or profiles for terrace deckings.

Enabling more sustainable construction solutions
By combining biobased polymers with natural fibre, the partners are enabling the production of construction solutions that have a lower carbon footprint. The construction elements serve as a temporary carbon storage: during their use phase of several years or even decades, they can store the carbon that was previously sequestered from the atmosphere during the growth phase of the biomass used in the construction elements. An LCA study created by GreenSurvey for Biofibre confirms that the amount of carbon removed from the atmosphere by the biomass exceeds supply chain emissions from logistics and manufacturing of the reinforced plastics granules.

“It is extremely important that the construction sector continues to develop innovative ways to combat climate change. Renewable solutions such as renewable Neste RE feedstock for polymers can play a major role in that. The long use-phase of construction products results in the creation of a carbon storage: Materials can store carbon taken from the atmosphere, serving as temporary buffers in combating climate change”, says Martin Bussmann, Brand Owner Manager at Neste Renewable Polymers and Chemicals.

“It is part of our company strategy to supply solutions for everyday sustainable living. We are thrilled to see that the construction industry is now increasingly embracing more sustainable solutions”, says Roman J. Schulz, Marketing Manager at LyondellBasell. “Our CirculenRenew products that we used for this project have a measurable renewable-based content which can be determined by C14 analysis. They help to reduce fossil feedstock use as well as greenhouse gas emissions over the product life cycle”.

“We have been using natural fibre residues from organic farming for quite a long time. The fibres stem from sources in close proximity to our production site and do not compete with food or feed production. With the introduction of our new product line BioSustra based on biobased polyolefins we can further increase the biobased content, lower the carbon footprint and thus contribute to the ecological advantages of our material portfolio. These new grades are particularly interesting for products with a long service life as can be found in the building industry”, says Jörg Dörrstein, Managing Director of Biofibre.

“Since we started to work with the building and construction sector, we have been asked how to further increase the sustainability of products such as profiles or bars. It seems that we had started at quite the right time with the development of lower carbon footprint products since recent inquiries clearly point towards a demand for such products. Today, we are happy to have found a proper solution with Biofibre BioSustra to support our clients to fulfil their corporate goals”, Daniel Koopmann, Managing Director of Naftex. AT


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