The first biobased water pipeline in the Netherlands

Oirschot, a municipality and a town near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, will be the first to use biobased water pipelines as alternative to petroleum-based PVC ones.

The pipe is still made of PVC, exactly the same as traditional PVC pipes. It is equally strong and has the same lifespan. However, the rather than being made of fossil fuels, the raw materials are used cooking oil, wood pulp or sugar cane.

The substance ethylene is an important raw material in the production of PVC. Until recently, ethylene was mainly extracted from petroleum, a fossil raw material. However, ethylene can also be extracted from fossil-free and renewable sources such as biomass. Unlike fossil resources such as petroleum, these resources are renewable.

The aim of using biobased PVC is to experiment with more sustainable pipelines. Recycled PVC was also considered, but didn’t meet the requirements for water pipelines. Because the biobased pipes are made of renewable materials, which absorb CO2 during their growth, the net CO2 savings can be up to 90% compared to traditional pipes.

Though the material is biobased, it is not biodegradable. However, it is recyclable.

The pipelines are made by Pipelife Netherlands (link in Dutch). They say that any conventional PVC pipe can be replaced by a biobased one.

Photo: Pipelife Netherlands


  1. Niels van der Stappen says:

    The core element and problem with PVC is the chlorine content. This still is biologically problematic and also not biobased. In my opionion this partially biobased PVC is no solution to the real problems with PVC.