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New method swaps pressurized biomass for petroleum in plastics, cosmetics

from Popular Science

An accidental chemistry discovery could lead to a new method for making antifreeze, moisturizer and plastic bottles out of biomass rather than petroleum, according to researchers at Iowa State University. Professor Walter Trahanovsky was using a high-temperature chemistry process to see if he could obtain sugar derivatives from cellulose. It’s based on supercritical fluids, which are heated under pressure until their fluid and gas states merge. It is not quite as exotic as it sounds — supercritical carbon dioxide is used to decaffeinate coffee. more


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