Increasingly, many of the plastic products we use every day are no longer based on petroleum raw material. Instead, they are made from biomass such as starch, sugar, corn and other sources that also happen to be food products. These compete directly with the food supply. They also push food prices up. Scientists at the EU funded BioConSept project are now seeking alternatives sources of plastics’ raw material based on biomass.
“We are looking for more sustainable solutions, trying to find feedstocks that are not in direct competition with food chains”, says Dirk Verdoes, a researcher at TNO (Netherlands Organisation for Applied Scientific Research), in Delft, who is the project coordinator. He adds: “we are preparing ourselves, and Europe in particular, for a change from a fossil-fuel based economy to a bio-based one.” To do so, “we are focussing on the so-called second-generation feedstocks, which include materials like cellulose from wood, non-edible oils and fats, and plant residues,” says Verdoes.
Tags: industrial, agricultural by-products, cellulose, starches, paper industry, economy of scale, lignocellulose, purification technology, proteins
Source: Youris, 2013-02-01.