Helmes, R.J.K.; López-Contreras, A.M.; Benoit, M.; Abreu, H.; Maguire, J.; Moejes, F.; Burg, S.W.K. Environmental Impacts of Experimental Production of Lactic Acid for Bioplastics from Ulva spp.. Sustainability2018, 10, 2462.
Helmes, R.J.K.; López-Contreras, A.M.; Benoit, M.; Abreu, H.; Maguire, J.; Moejes, F.; Burg, S.W.K. Environmental Impacts of Experimental Production of Lactic Acid for Bioplastics from Ulva spp.. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2462.
An exploratory Life Cycle Assessment was carried out to provide insight into the environmental impacts of using the green seaweed Ulva spp. as a feedstock for production of bioplastic. The study focused on the production of lactic acid as a precursor of polylactic acid. The studied production process consists of (1) the cultivation of Ulva spp. in Integrated Multitrophic Aquaculture, (2) the processing of the biomass for solubilisation of sugars, (3) the fermentation of the sugars to lactic acid and (4) isolation of lactic acid from the fermentation broth. The study identifies environmental hotspots and compares the experimental seaweed production chain with conventional feedstock. The main hotspot identified is electricity consumption during seaweed cultivation. This impact of electricity consumption can be lowered by reducing energy use and sourcing renewable energy, and by improving the material efficiency in the product chain. To improve understanding of the environmental impacts of the production process, future studies can broaden the system boundaries and broaden the scope of sustainability issues included in the environmental assessment.
bioplastics; seaweed; lactic acid; Life Cycle Assessment; Ulva spp.
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