New method for breaking down plants can help speed up switch to renewables
Researchers from Imperial College London have developed a new environmentally friendly method to produce energy, materials and chemicals. It uses sustainable feedstocks created from the repurposing of waste plant material, and has the potential to replace petroleum refineries.
By utilising a specific type of salt, the team from Imperial’s Department of Chemical Engineering found that they could extract different components of plants and use them to manufacture a variety of products in a sustainable way. This includes the creation of biofuels, paper, textile fibres and platform chemicals used in the chemical industry.
In their research, published in Trends in Chemistry they created a more sustainable and less polluting technology for the processing of lignocellulosic biomass – the most abundant renewable feedstock on earth.
Their findings will help address key environmental challenges like combating climate change whilst also reducing a major source of pollution.
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