There are literally over hundreds of biomaterials. Any one that can serve as an alternative to petrochemical materials, or materials exhibiting environmentally-friendly traits such as low carbon emission, biodegradable, or rapidly renewable, can be considered as biomaterials. With the topic of circular economy development models becoming one of the trendiest topics around the world, the importance of biomaterials has also attracted wide attention, becoming a field that all nations hope to achieve a competitive edge.
In the beginning, biomaterials are developed to serve as an alternative to petrochemical materials. Therefore, during the period of high oil prices, the direction of development centers upon creating bioethanol and biodiesel that can replace gasoline. However, with the subsequent decline in oil prices, development efforts became more focused on biomaterial R&D. A major direction is bioplastics.
Therefore, when we use the term biomaterials, in most cases we are referring to bioplastics. The primary purpose of developing bioplastics is to replace traditional general-purpose plastics. The more mature application of the material is substituting materials such as PE, PP, PS, and PET. Bioplastics can be subdivided further into 3 main groups which include biodegradable plastics, bio-based plastics, and bio-based biodegradable plastics.