Plastics have become ubiquitous and nearly indispensable, yet they are largely made from fossil fuel-derived compounds and are having increasingly detrimental effects on the environment. One important way to mitigate the negative impacts of the plastics industry while acknowledging its relevance and supporting its existence is to transition away from petroleum-based compounds to bio-derived polymers.
Polyhydroxyalkanoates (PHA) are among the most promising candidates. However, the EU is currently dependent on other countries for much of the PHA value chain. The EU-funded NENU2PHAR project is out to remedy that, taking a holistic approach that includes raw material production with microalgae and bacteria, the formulation and processing of biopolymers and the production of eight different PHA-based products.