May 2, 2012 - Researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst
have discovered a new method of mass producing the key ingredient used
to make plastic bottles from biomass.
In an article published on Phys.org, the high-yield and inexpensive process creates the chemical called p-xylene, which the petroleum industry uses to create a wide variety of plastic products, from soda bottles to clothing and car parts. The chemical produced from biomass is identical to that of the petroleum-based product, and the researchers state that the process is significantly cheaper than the current processes available.
"We discovered that the performance of the biomass reaction was strongly
affected by the nanostructure of the catalyst, which we were able to
optimize and achieve 75-percent yield," said Wei Fan, one of the researchers who worked on the project at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
For more information on the process and the potential of the renewable chemical, please see Phys.org.