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Industry-Ready Process Makes Plastics Chemical From Plant Sugars

May 12, 2019 / Wisconsin-Madison

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 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 describes an efficient and economically feasible process for producing HMF, or 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.“We integrated into a current process to reduce the initial risk qui...