Chapter 6: TEA and LCA of Bio-Based Polyurethanes

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For bio-based polyurethane (PU) to replace its conventional petroleum-based counterpart, it must be cost-competitive while providing a positive environmental benefit. Techno-economic analysis (TEA) and life cycle assessment (LCA) provide tools to quantify the economic and environmental viability of bio-based PU and to identify key drivers. Here we describe TEA and LCA methodologies for assessing bio-based PU, including an example case study for producing a flexible PU foam. This process has the potential to be cost-competitive with traditional PU based on a published study using a linseed oil proxy feedstock. Bio-based PU also demonstrates environmental advantages in some categories considered but faces challenges in others compared to petroleum-based PU. Further TEA and LCA beyond the case study may enable assessment for alternative product and process variations that are possible for bio-based PU.

Original languageAmerican English
Title of host publicationRethinking Polyester Polyurethanes: Algae Based Renewable, Sustainable, Biodegradable and Recyclable Materials
Subtitle of host publicationEmerging Issues in Analytical Chemistry
EditorsR. S. Pomeroy
Number of pages24
ISBN (Electronic)9780323999823
StatePublished - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Inc. & NREL (operated by Alliance for Sustainable Energy, LLC,) under Contract No. DE-AC36-08GO28308 Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CH-5100-82609


  • Bio-based polyurethane
  • Bioproducts
  • Life cycle assessment
  • Polyurethane
  • Process modeling
  • Techno-economic analysis


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