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Plant-Based Chemistry for the Post-Petroleum Age

December 3, 2013

Everyone is talking about an energy revolution but a chemistry revolution is rarely mentioned. This is depite the fact that this sector is even more heavily dependent on crude oil than energy suppliers.


The conversion to environmentally friendly energy sources is currently a hot topic but there’s scant mention of any change in the chemicals industry. And that’s surprising since the industry’s chief raw material - petroleum oil - is running out. Almost 90 percent of the products manufactured by the chemicals industry - plastics, washing and cleaning products, cosmetics, medicines and paints - are all based on petroleum derivatives. But can the industry function without this finite fossil resource?

Yes, says chemist and entrepreneur Hermann Fischer. He’s been campaigning for eco-friendly chemical production for more than 30 years - with plant oils, resins, starch, sugars, dyes and fibers all offering viable alternatives to petroleum.

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