PHBVTM Biodegradable Polyester
This chapter discusses the Poly(3-hydroxybutyrate-co-3-hydroxyvalerate)'s (PHBV) process of manufacture, the general properties of the copolymers, biodegradation in various media and possible application areas. Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI), as the inventor of polyethylene in the late 30's, has had a grand stand seat in watching the growth of this polymer over the past fifty years. PHBV is still on its growth curve, but has come a long way in the past 10 years toward meeting the demands of a truly biodegradable thermosplastic in terms of performance, cost and safety. PHBV copolymers' general property profile most closely resembles that of polypropylene except in two places where it resembles that of polyethylene terephthalate (PET). PHBV copolymers, either plasticized or as virgin resin, have been processed on conventional plastic equipment to produce films, bottles, and injection molded articles. PHBV is currently produced in Billingham, England at a rate equivalent to 50 tonnes per year.