Mankind has relied upon biomaterials since the beginning – using timber to build homes and other structures, ships, carts and wheels.  Animal skins and wool have long been used for human clothing and arable crops such as cotton also. Today however, we are on the brink of a transformational change in the way we use biomass in the materials supply chain, and in the scale of that use, since biomass is increasingly being used as a feedstock for manufacturing chemicals and as precursors for plastics.

When substituting bio-based feedstocks into the chemicals supply chain in place of fossil based components, such as natural gas and naphtha, it is important to ensure that this is delivering good environmental performance. There is little point in substituting fossil fuels if life cycle carbon emissions and other impacts are less favourable.

At LCAworks, we have extensive experience in carrying out life cycle assessments on the biomaterials supply chains, and are increasingly building our expertise in this emerging field of LCA.  An example can be found at our “Case Studies” page, detailing Dr Richard Murphy’s  LCA study on bio-polyester for a multinational drinks company.