Catalyst Opens Doors to New Bio-Based Plastics

Plastics manufacturers largely rely on crude oil to create isobutene in the production of plastics, but researchers at Washington State University have developed a catalyst to easily convert bio-based ethanol to isobutene in a single step.

The catalyst will help plastics manufacturers move away from fossil fuels to create bio-based products in efforts to reduce the adverse environmental effects of fossil fuels and meet new regulations for sustainability, according to Yong Wang, Voiland Distinguished Professor in the Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and Bioengineering at Washington State University.

To assure that their catalyst was practical for the market, the researchers considered both the its costs and its lifetime. They also determined that it could effectively replace other related feedstocks.

The researchers have been granted a U.S. patent, and it is hoped that their understanding of this new catalyst will lead to new catalysts for wide range of  industrial applications. To learn more about their work, see the published paper