30.10.2015

Green Chemistry Principle 7 | Renewable Feedstocks

Renewable Feedstocks | Green Chemistry

Use of Renewable Feedstocks is at the heart of Principle 7 of the 12 Principles of Green Chemistry.

Green chemistry

It states that a raw material or feedstock should be renewable rather than depleting whenever technically and economically practicable. It’s basic commons sense at work here.

Dr Richard Wool, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Director of the Affordable Composites from Renewable Materials program, University of Delaware says that at first glance the principle seems impracticable. We continue to use fossil fuels and extract them from the ground until they are exhausted. Fossil fuels in particular are being rapidly depleted.

But Dr Wool says we can address this problem be getting renewable feedstock from “thin air”.  The carbon in the air CO2 and methane Ch4 is removed from the air by the sun using photosynthesis. This forms plants trees, crops, algae etc which are called “biomass”.

Wonderful Mother Nature produces about 170 billion tons of biomass annually. We only use about 3.5% of it. The challenge of principle 7 is to extract and convert more into useful chemicals. Obviously it’s important to use non-toxic and low energy ways to do this and to make sure that we don’t create a greater carbon foot-print in the process. This done properly would lead to a reduction in global warming gasses.

Dr Wool says that significant advances have been made in the last 10 years and that in terms of Green Chemistry Principle 7 the future is bright and optimistic. This is because of lots of fruitful collaborations over several disciplines where renewable feedstocks are actually being created from “thin air”.  Even better it has minimal impact on the environment.

At Halo it is an important part of our technology that we use thin air to catalyse our coatings. To know more about the science behind Halo, contact us here or complete the form below.

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