the environmental impact

   In general, the main constrain regarding the development of these indicators is that the aspects to be analysed are very complex and interconnected each other. The selected indicators obtained were:

i) the decrease of energy consumption [%]: This indicator was calculated for each technical activity both based on the synthesis method or on the used processing facilities. Since the strategy of this project was to eliminate dangerous compounds to decrease the risks for the human health and environment, no changes for reducing the employed energy were scheduled during the technical actions. In facts, the indicators calculated for the energy consumption suggested that no significant energy saving can be obtained maintaining the same processing technology.

ii) the CO2 saved emissions during the production process [%]: the saved CO2 emissions were evaluated by using CCaLC2 software application, which allowed quick and easy estimations of environmental impacts and of the added value for the used raw materials and for the processing technologies. This tool has been developed by the University of Manchester to calculate the carbon footprint and other environmental impacts quickly and easily following internationally accepted LCA standards such as ISO 14044. This software considers all operations for the preparation of the thermal- or UV curable mixtures used for the technical action B6 and B8 (e.g. LCA for the technical actions B1, B2, B3 and B5 was calculated by using a dedicated software of polynt property).

iii) the renewable materials employed [%]: this indicator was easily calculated by reporting the % by wt of the total amount used both renewable monomers during the syntheses (e.g. in the technical action B1, B2, B3 and B4) and of IA-based monomers (e.g. DEI, DBI, PERIT) and unsaturated polyesters for the preparation of the subsequent technical actions B5, B6, B7 and B8.

iv) the reduction of formaldehyde emissions (only for action B7 and B8 actions) [%]: this indicator is of great importance, since the main aim of the BiMoP project was the substitution of the dangerous chemical compounds, such as phenol-formaldehyde resins, with IA-based unsaturated polyesters with monomers for production of flexible abrasive tapes. Although the incomplete substitution of the chemical compounds was realized in the action B7, the indicators data for the indicators were collected and the environmental impact was calculated for the action B7.

v) the reduction of phenol emissions (only for actions B7 and B8) [%]: This indicator was easily calculated for the action B7 and B8, adopting a practical approach as that used for formaldehyde emissions.

vi) the reduction of styrene emissions (for B1, B3, B5, B6 and B8 actions) [%]: this indicator was evaluated only for the actions B1, B3, B5, B6 and B8, since this monomer can be currently used as reactive diluent for coatings, composites and inks.

vii) the substitution of the employed hazardous materials (only for B2 and B4 actions) [%]: This indicator has been used in the technical actions were the phenol, formaldehyde and styrene were not in use in the conventional applications and no replacement was expected in the project.

The collection of all necessary data for each indicator were summarized in Table I through the the collaboration of the technical staff in each company.

Table I. Final results evaluating the environmental impact for the technical actions in the BiMoP project

 

Identified indicators for environmental impact [%]*

actions

i

ii

iii

iv

v

vi

vii

Achieved Average Indicator

Expected Average Indicator

B1

0,0

7,3

100,0

-

-

100,0

-

51,8

39,3

B2

0,0

7,0

70,0

-

-

-

100,0

44,3

36,8

B3

0,0

11,0

100,0

-

-

100,0

-

52,8

39,3

B4

0,0

5,0

25,0

-

-

-

100,0

32,5

36,8

B5

0,0

5,0

75,0

-

-

100,0

-

45,0

39,3

B6

0,0

16,0

80,0

-

-

100,0

-

49,0

39,3

B7

0,0

8,0

25,0

100,0

100,0

-

-

46,6

35,4

B8

0,0

8,0

80,0

100,0

100,0

100,0

-

64,7

32,8

total %

0,0

8,4

69,4

100,0

100,0

100,0

100,0

-

-

Expected %

50

67

20

20

20

20

10

48,3

37,4 

*indicator legend (%): i) decrease of energy consumption; ii) Savings of the CO2 emissions as indicated in the LCA; iii) Increase of the employed renewable materials; iv) reduction of formaldehyde emissions (only for action B7 and B8); v) reduction of phenol emissions (only for action B7 and B8); vi) reduction of styrene emissions (only for B1, B3, B5, B6 and B8 actions); vii) substitution of employed hazardous materials (only for B2 and B4 actions).

  

The table I shows that all values of the achieved average index (AAI), calculated as the unweighted mean among all used indicators as specific for each technical activity, are greater than the expected average index (EAI), calculated in the same manner for all technical activities. This important result indicates that all environmental and health issues expected have been reached with the BiMoP project. The reported data in the table exhibit some suggestions and comments:

- the indicator i) puts in evidence that no modifications of the processing technologies were proposed for the implementation of the technical actions. Accordingly, all technical actions were implemented by using all processing facilities for each partner by replacing completely the dangerous chemical compounds with the IA based monomers and unsaturated polyesters. The indicator for energy consumption suggest that no significant changes for energy reduction.

- the indicator ii) shows that the use of biomonomers or biopolymers can provide environmental benefits by lowering the CO2 emission. Although the expected results were reported by European commission or European Biopolymer Association indicating a decrease ranging between 30 and 70 % of the CO2 emission for the thermoplastic polymers (e.g. PLA, PHB,..), the developed UV- or thermo-curable mixture replaced the dangerous chemical compounds, since other components derived from fossil origin are present. The obtained results in the BiMoP project suggest that high levels of the reduction of the CO2 emissions should be associated also with a structural modification of the processing facilities. Furthermore, no data are available for thermosets derived from renewable resources, for detailed LCA calculation.

- the indicator iii) was easily calculated with the % by wt of the monomers derived from renewable resources. The substitution was complete for the action B1 and B3, while for the other actions were used commercially available monomers (up to 30% by wt) both for lowering the chemical risk both to obtain good performances for the applications.

- The indicators iv), v) and vi) are consequently derived from the previous ones, indicating the % by weight of the substituted hazardous chemical compounds.

- the indicator vii) was specifically created for evaluating the technical action B2 and B4 for replacing polyamines and maleic anhydride chemical compounds, respectively.

 

      Conclusions

   The planned output with the calculation of the environmental indicators was implemented respecting the schedule of the project. The action B9 was not monitored for the environmental impact, but the obtained results on the biodegradation tests were used for the evaluations in this action.

   The evaluation of all indicators associated with the biodegradation tests and comparative LCA were calculated by using the current curable mixtures compositions as reference.

   In general, the main constrain was the development of these indicators, since some aspects were difficult and very complex to analyze for the connections between the identified indicators and the development of the technical activities.

   The environmental impact will be monitored as much as possible for the next implementation of biopolymers and biomonomers or other chemical compounds in the processing facility of each involved company.

advanced polymer materials