University of Massachusetts Amherst discovers high-yield method for producing plastics from biomass

03 May 2012

Led by Paul Dauenhauer, researchers at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have discovered a new, high-yield method of producing the key ingredient used to make recyclable plastic bottles from biomass. The process is inexpensive and currently creates the chemical p-xylene with an efficient yield of 75%, using most of the biomass feedstock.
The plastics industry currently produces p-xylene from petroleum and that the new renewable process creates exactly the same chemical from biomass. ‘You can mix our renewable chemical with the petroleum-based material and the consumer would not be able to tell the difference," Dauenhauer says (News Item University of Massachusetts Amherst, May 2012).