Aug 18, 2019 | Updated: 08:03 AM EDT

Green, Biodegradable Rubbers & Plastics Will Soon Be Available

Apr 26, 2017 02:35 AM EDT

An employee of the 'Closed Loop Recycling' plant walks past stacks of plastic bottles at their plant in Dagenham in London, United Kingdom
(Photo : Dan Kitwood/Getty Images)

Presently, rubber tire production materials are at a nonbiodegradable stage. The volume of rubber tire production is still at its momentum and Manufacturers produce more than they could recycle as rubber waste pile up into mounds of unrecyclable heap, and so is plastic.

Rubber and plastic had been part of humanity since its discovery. Most materials that man use around the house, in the office, the cars people drive or at play are made of rubber and plastic. However, there are no biodegradable rubbers and plastics that could thwart the threat of these non-biodegradable hazards to the environment.

Rubbers and Plastics are made of Butadiene, a molecule derived from petroleum and gas. Researchers from three universities namely the University of Delaware, the University of Minnesota, and the University of Massachusetts had teamed up and invented a green and biodegradable substitute to Butadiene. These sustainable sources could come from trees, grasses, and corn. Results of their inventions will be published in the American Chemical Society's ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering, a foremost journal in green engineering and chemistry. as reported by Science Daily.

The authors and inventors of this green and biodegradable Rubbers and Plastics are connected with the Catalyst Center for Energy Innovation (CCEI) headquartered at the University of Delaware. The Center is the frontline Research Center supported by the U.S. government.

According to Dionisios Vachos, Professor of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware, the team's invention combined a catalyst that resulted in a productive and inexpensive method to create a substitute for Butadiene. Adding that their invention will change the landscape of rubber and plastic production. A green and biodegradable replacement for Butadiene will soon be available, reports AZO Materials.

The invention of green biodegradable rubbers and plastics takes three steps starting with biomass sugars derived from plants. Invented technology within CCEI then converts the sugars into a ring compound called furfural. "Furfural" is then processed in the second step with another ring compound known as tetrahydrofuran (THF). The third step is where the invention was realized. The team used a catalyst called "Phosphorous All-Silica Zeolite" that converted THF to Butadiene with a yield of more than 95 percent. The team termed this innovation "dehydra decyclization".

The invention has widened the potential of molecules of sugars (lignocellulose) derived from plants and is applicable to our everyday life when the matter is applied to items involving Butadiene says Professor Paul Dauenhauer, co author and inventor of the team.

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