New path to low-cost, renewable plastic bottles

May 1, 2012 |

In Massachusetts, a  team of chemical engineers led by Paul J. Dauenhauer of the University of Massachusetts Amherst has discovered a new, high-yield method of producing p-xylene, the key ingredient used to make plastic bottles from biomass. The process is inexpensive and currently creates the chemical  with an efficient yield of 75-percent, using most of the biomass feedstock.

The new process uses a new zeolite catalyst capable of transforming glucose into p-xylene in a three-step reaction within a high-temperature biomass reactor. Dauenhauer says this is a major breakthrough since other methods of producing renewable p-xylene are either expensive (e.g., fermentation) or are inefficient due to low yields.

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Category: Research

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