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BIO FUEL
Scientists use new technique to recycle plant material into stock chemicals
by Brooks Hays
Washington (UPI) Jun 7, 2017


Recycling can encompass more than just materials like plastics and paper. Important chemicals can also be recovered and reused.

Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a new technique for recycling plant material into stock chemicals, or commodity chemicals.

When recycling plant materials, the target is lignin, a complex organic polymer that provides structure to the tissue of vascular plants. Lignin is especially important to the formation of a plant's cell walls. It also lends wood and bark their strength.

When broken down, lignin yields molecular fragments that can be used to create pharmaceuticals, plastics and other household products. Until now, the methods for breaking down and recycling lignin's chemical components were inefficient. The techniques proved low-yield and inconsistent.

Scientists at Michigan hypothesized that an electrochemical approach might offer more precise control and yield more productive results. By combining electricity and blue light to trigger chemical reactions, researchers were able to target the breakdown of one specific chemical bond. The technique produce more predictable results.

Researchers suggest their method -- detailed in the journal ACS Central Science -- could be quickly scaled for industrial use.

BIO FUEL
Splitting carbon dioxide using low-cost catalyst materials
Lausanne, Switzerland (SPX) Jun 07, 2017
A promising avenue for the future of clean energy is to store it in the form of carbon-based fuels produced from renewable sources, effectively enabling the clean use of liquid fuels such as gasoline. A first step is the electrolysis of carbon dioxide into oxygen and carbon monoxide, which can be subsequently be transformed into liquid fuels. But current CO-forming catalysts are either not ... read more

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