Life cycle assessment of a biobased process for producing 1, 3-Propanediol
1, 3 Propanediol is a monomer in a range of polycondensation reactions that produce polyesters, polyethers, and polyurethanes. A commercial fermentation route to PDO from corn sugar has been developed by Dupont and Genencor International. This biobased pathway will replace their current petrochemical route from acrolein to PDO. This thesis presents an environmental life cycle comparison of the biobased production of PDO with Nylon 6 and the petrochemical route to PDO. The important key factors evaluated for the biobased process and the petrochemical processes are energy requirements, global climate change, and NOx emissions. The environmental footprints of the three processes are compared and the sustainability of the biobased process is analyzed. An important result of these comparisons is how the biobased process has the potential of reducing both greenhouse gas emissions and dependence on nonrenewable resources.