Polymers and materials Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA)
Polyhydroxyalkanoates or PHAs are a relatively new kind of polyesters produced in nature by numerous microorganisms. There are currently about ten different commercial grades of PHAs. They can be produced through the bacterial fermentation of sugar or lipids.
Production by fermentation is more environmentally friendly than the chemical processes by which other ‘green’ polymers are produced. PHAs are used in the production of films, for injection moulding and could probably be spun into yarn. As PHA is biodegradable in marine water, it would not add to the ‘plastic soup’.
H&P Moulding is involved in the development of a biodegradable coffee cup, in partnership with LIMM Recycling. At NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences, tests are done to ascertain the speed with which PHA products (like films) degrade in e.g. soil.
Paques Biomaterials producses PHA from wastewater, product development is for instance done by H&P Moulding, and research into PHA biodegradability by NHL Stenden University of Applied Sciences.