What makes PHA stand out as your alternative to more traditional petrochemical plastics? Below we explain what PHA is.
PHAs are a class of natural materials that have existed in nature for over millions of years. These materials are both bio-based and biodegradable, similar to other natural materials such as cellulose, proteins and starch.Banner
Sugars & oils
The main feedstock used in the production of PHAs are sugars and vegetable oils. However, in the last few years several methods have been developed in which waste water streams, plastic waste, renewable methane as well as carbon dioxide are used as feedstock.
PHAs are produced by an extensive variety of microorganisms through bacterial fermentation. During fermentation, bacteria convert different types of feedstock into an internal energy storage medium. In this case, the microbes produce PHA, a natural polymer. This natural process can be mimicked in an industrial setting, a process that is done by our specialized partners.Find out who our partners are!
Today, 9 different PHA families are produced and developed in the short, medium and long-chain length composition. These PHAs have very distinct properties, ranging from amorphous to highly crystalline. They vary from high-strength, hard and brittle to lowstrength, soft and elastic. The chemical composition of PHAs can be formed and adjusted depending on which monomers are used and in which composition.
PHA cell structure (image courtesy of Tianan Biologic)
PHAs have a potentially large design space and resulting application options, if propery applied. And this is where PHAradox comes in. By blending different PHA polymers, and by possibly adding some sustainable fillers or fibers, PHAradox finetunes its PHA formulations to match perfectly with the customer needs. This way PHAs compounds are created that are, for example, both high strength and tough or low crystalline but stiff.
This ability to customize PHA blends, together with extensive processing guidance, makes PHAradox able to solve a wide range of material challenges with a PHA solution.
The materials can be supplied in many forms, from granules for injection molding and extrusion to sheets for thermoforming and filaments for 3D printing. As most of these can be produced inhouse on pilot scale PHAradox can proceed from idea to physical material testing very fast.
The versatility of the PHA family accommodates a wide range of market applications, due to their biocompatibility, biodegradability and green credentials. Besides the standard thermoplastic conversion methods, PHAs can also be used for non-wovens, fibers, 3D printing, paper and fertiliser coating, glues and adhesives - depending on the formulation, of course. The main markets where PHAs are currently used are packaging, food service, agriculture and medical products.Find out what ReFork makes with PHA
The most interesting property is that PHA is fully circular! It can be recycled back to the polymer for new applications. It can be recycled back to raw materials to be used as renewable feedstock. It can be recycled to the environment through industrial or home composting. It can be recycled through incineration creating renewable energy. And lastly, it can be recycled to nutrients for living organisms through full biodegradation.Find out what PHAradox is!