Transforming an Industry: Using Wood As a Feedstock for Petrochemicals | AIChE

Transforming an Industry: Using Wood As a Feedstock for Petrochemicals


Globally, over 4.4 billion hectares of tree cover are harvested every year. Each hectare produces about 10 tons of biomass.

Wood, a nonedible biofeedstock, is an ideal raw material for producing fuels, chemicals, and materials. It is a rich source of carbon, which is a major feedstock for petrochemicals.

Today, most petrochemicals are produced from fossil fuels. In the future, industry can count on petrochemicals to become the largest driver of oil consumption, according to a recent study. Some scientists have suggested using renewable materials such as wood to produce certain petrochemicals, to help alleviate carbon emissions associated with fossil resources...

At KU Leuven, a university in Belgium, researchers are using lignocellulose derived from wood to create valuable products. Lignocellulose, a combination of carbohydrate and lignin biopolymers, is difficult to convert to chemicals. Lignins have a very low product yield when converted to petrochemicals...

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