Industry-ready process makes plastics chemic…

Industry-ready process makes plastics chemical from plant sugars

Developing renewable, plant-based alternatives for petroleum-derived chemicals is a major piece of the effort to transition away from a fossil-fuel based economy toward a more sustainable and environmentally friendly bio-based economy. But integration of novel and unproven technology into existing industrial systems carries an element of risk that has made commercialization of such advances a significant challenge.

In new research, published recently in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, a team from the Great Lakes Bioenergy Research Center and the University of Wisconsin-Madison describe an efficient and economically feasible process for producing HMF—5-hydroxymethylfurfural, a versatile plant-derived chemical considered crucial for building a renewable economy.

What’s more, the process is simple and compatible with the existing infrastructure in the high fructose corn syrup industry, the researchers show.

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