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A greener, more sustainable source of ingredients for widely used plastics

Date:
August 7, 2013
Source:
American Chemical Society
Summary:
A new process can convert a wide variety of vegetable and animal fats and oils -- ranging from lard to waste cooking oil -- into a key ingredient for making plastics that currently comes from petroleum, scientists say.

Butter, olive oil and vegetable oil. A new process can convert a wide variety of vegetable and animal fats and oils -- ranging from lard to waste cooking oil -- into a key ingredient for making plastics that currently comes from petroleum.
Credit: Multiart / Fotolia

A new process can convert a wide variety of vegetable and animal fats and oils -- ranging from lard to waste cooking oil -- into a key ingredient for making plastics that currently comes from petroleum, scientists say. Their report on the first-of-its-kind process appears in the journal ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering.

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Douglas Neckers and Maria Muro-Small explain that many of the plastics found in hundreds of everyday products begin with a group of chemical raw materials termed olefins that come from petroleum. They include ethylene, propylene and butadiene, which are building blocks for familiar plastics like polyethylene, polyester, polyvinyl chloride and polystyrene. The scientists sought a more sustainable alternative source of olefins.

Their report describes use of "UV-C" light -- used in sanitizing wands to kill bacteria and viruses around the house -- to change lard, tallow, olive oil, canola oil and waste canola cooking oil into olefins. Neckers and Muro-Small say that this is the first report on use of this photochemical process to make olefins.


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The above story is based on materials provided by American Chemical Society. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Maria L. Muro-Small, Douglas C. Neckers. A Green Route to Petroleum Feedstocks: Photochemistry of Fats and Oils. ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering, 2013; 130719152823005 DOI: 10.1021/sc400135y

Cite This Page:

American Chemical Society. "A greener, more sustainable source of ingredients for widely used plastics." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 7 August 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807130052.htm>.
American Chemical Society. (2013, August 7). A greener, more sustainable source of ingredients for widely used plastics. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807130052.htm
American Chemical Society. "A greener, more sustainable source of ingredients for widely used plastics." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/08/130807130052.htm (accessed October 31, 2014).

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