Innovation, Klima und Umwelt

Cost structure of bio-based plastics: A Monte-Carlo-Analysis for PLA

28.06.2021 | HWWI Research Paper | von Claudia Wellenreuther, André Wolf, Nils Zander
© VRD /

This paper conducts a meta-analysis of the estimated costs of producing Polylactic Acid (PLA). Cost contributions of specific inputs and process stages are identified through a production chain perspective. By applying the Monte Carlo technique, uncertainties in current estimates are reflected, both regarding technological input requirements and the development of input prices. Moreover, results are compared between two scenarios differing in feedstock choice: production from corn grain and from corn stover. The results stress the specific importance of capital costs, energy, and the biological feedstocks as cost components. Nevertheless, the Monte Carlo simulations point out that the current state of knowledge is still subject to a high degree of uncertainty.


Dr. Claudia Wellenreuther
Nils Zander