A research team at the University of Rennes in Brittany has identified the ingredient that makes it possible to use plant oil, instead of fossil fuel-based oil, to produce polyamide precursors. The material that enables this type of chemical reaction is ruthenium, a metal. Polyamides are polymers used in a variety of applications, ranging from fibers such as nylon to highly resistant coatings that protect metal from corrosion.
In the study, researchers selected two streams of renewable materials: fatty acids derived from castor oil, and acrylonitrile, which is a compound that can be easily derived from glycerol, a waste product created in the production of biodiesel. Castor oil is derived from castor beans, which are not a food crop. The team combined the fatty acids and the nitrile component of the acrylonitrile with an additive containing ruthenium.
A research team has discovered that an additive containing the metal ruthenium reacts with renewable biomaterials to form new polyamide precursors. (Source: Wikipedia Commons)
This process created the precursors to both existing and entirely new types of polyamides in a highly efficient reaction, making a large volume of material relative to the amount of energy invested. The specific reaction is difficult to achieve in the laboratory because the ruthenium additive tends to be sacrificed when it contacts acrylonitrile. The research team initially examined and reviewed several different reaction conditions, as well as additives to discover the optimum method that could provide high yields.
Meanwhile, over in the commercial sector, Cereplast, a manufacturer of compostable and sustainable bio-based plastics, has introduced the next generation of its durable hybrid resins. The Hybrid 102D and 105D grades represent an expansion of the company's Biopropylene polypropylene-based resin products, which are part of its Sustainable Resins product lines. Cereplast anticipates selling the new 102D and 105D resin grades in the US and Europe in the first half of 2012.
The company's Hybrid Resins products replace up to half of the petroleum content in traditional plastic products with bio-based materials, such as starches from renewable plant materials. (You can watch a slideshow illustrating the life cycle of Cereplast's bioplastics here.) They can be used in durable goods, including interior automotive parts, furniture, and consumer products. All Hybrid grades are FDA-compliant for direct food contact. The Hybrid 102D and Hybrid 105D grades are both designed for use in injection molding.
Your Big Bear and Catalina sighting story reminds me of when I lived in LA, actually Venice, in the mid 80s to mid 90s. One winter, I think it was 1990 or 1991, for a week or so the temperature went down onto the low 20s and we heard that it had snowed on the San Gabriel range of mountains just inland from coastal LA. Now the San Gabriel range is invisible for like 99% of the time for years on end due to the polluted air. By then I had lived in LA at least 5 years, and suddenly you could see the mountains! It was a shock.
In 75 I lived in Newport/Huntington Beach living on the inland cliffs and one day after living there 4 months Catalina, 23 miles, all of a sudden popped up quite large!! next day I saw Big Bear 40miles NE. Sadly was the last time too. Living there was like smoking 2 cigarette packs/day so left a few months later.
As for green energy Penn media just announced Michigan.gov reports RE costs 25% less than coal does in their state by a board appointed to track it's RE policies. So it's relly at parity or better in many places now. The economics is getting harder to ignore and try to explain away.
And by no means the only. It's been happening for a while on well done projects. Some have paid off already and now almost pure profit other than maintaining them.
I agree with you that the supposed greater expense of bioplastics and other green materials is something of an illusion. Ot all depends on how you defined your universe and what you consider "costs."
I was a teenager in the SF Bay Area during the 1960s and know what you mean about the environment changing. I remember when the air there started to change from the crystal clear we only have now up in the mountains. I also remember a year not much later, I think it was 1974, when we had an unprecedented clear air day after some spring storms, where you could see from San Francisco all the way down the Peninsula, the air was so clear. It was a startling reminder of what we had lost.
Many seem to think bioplastics, RE, etc green things are more expensive That isn't the real facts. While some are and just greenwashing, true greenness is very cost effective as it SAVES things. Mostly when one saves it costs less.
The most effective green is using less to get more. If the designer/engineer is any good they do that automatically.
While I'm a social progressive I'm very much a real fiscal consevative, IE cheap, so want the least costly by full cost accounting. In almost all cases real green costs less in life costs.
Like oil, it's costs are huge and not in it's price but in our tax payments. 30% of the US budget goes to persian gulf military, oil wars, direct subsidies, pollution, $500B/yr trade deficit, $ that will never make another US job but support oil dictators and terrorists, etc. Add these all up and oil price would double.
Yet green energy most of the costs is labor, materials that make far more jobs, better economy and avoid all those other costs oil, coal have.
I've just found PV laminates costing only $.50/wt retail!!!!! Other panel with junction boxes only cost $1/wt, 20% of 6 yrs ago!! Sunelec.com.
I'm doing a bid to produce 2kw windgenerators costing under $2k/kw. At the same time I'm doing my own design for production.
Both these above over 3 yrs are well under the cost of coal, NG or Nuke retail costs. So go green and for under 3 yrs eergy payments, one can have almost free energy for 25-50 yrs!!
So those of you sticking to FF hold onto your wallet as it's going to be assulted badly. Best is start becoming energy independent or just use a lot less though smart living, insulation, etc.
Designers, engineers better go that way too or they will be left behind.
As for kids, they are far smarter than many give them credit for. They are watching Repubs and so called conservatives run our country into the ground fiscally and pollution wise. Their idea of freedom is make as much profit even if it kills people and leaves the bill to the taxpayer. Kids are smarter than that.
I'm not sure how many here remember just how bad the air, water got here in the 60's, knda like China now, when rivers caught fire and 50% of rivers, lakes, bays and seas were so bad. Now Tampa Bay is almost back to producing great fishing, etc because of green thinking which really is the old version of being conservative which this generation of repubs have fprgotten.
I've interviewed many of these young professionals at large electronic component producers (like TI) and consumer electronics companies. They are very knowledgeable about environmental technology, global regulations, and carbon emission evaluations. These are not PR and marketing people. I was surprised to find that many of these companies take their environmental policies and initiatives seriously. As recently as five years ago, it seemed most large corporations merely dabbled in environmental policies -- mostly they were simply complying with regulations. That has changed significantly.
I agree. Guilt is certainly a powerful motivator. Even though I've occasionally joked about needing some Guilt-Away Spray, I think it can be a positive motivator for good reasons, and this is one of them.
Those kindergarten impressions can last a lifetime. Part of the concern for the environment it might be fueld by guilt. A bright young professional take a job at Mobile, GE or TI and has concern about the company's practices. That professional may be carrying around some of the kindergarten impressions you described. So guilt about working for a company that may not have a great environmental record could prompt these professional to get behind positive changes.
Thanks, Rob, those are thoughtful and educational comments on this subject. Regarding younger folks, I remember when my niece, born in 1985, came back from kindergarten and talked about saving the planet. It was a real surprise to realize that what I had protested about was finally becoming mainstream and taught in schools. Glad to hear that this is the case in many large companies.
aleemengr, there are actually two different material categories in the story. The first material, based on ruthenium, was developed in the lab and that study appears to be mostly a chemical one. I saw a wide variety of applications mentioned that this material could be applied to. The second two materials are plant-based, and they are created and sold by Cereplast. I suspect the company has some MDS you can check out.
New versions of BASF's Ecovio line are both compostable and designed for either injection molding or thermoforming. These combinations are becoming more common for the single-use bioplastics used in food service and food packaging applications, but are still not widely available.
The 100-percent solar-powered Solar Impulse plane flies on a piloted, cross-country flight this summer over the US as a prelude to the longer, round-the-world flight by its successor aircraft planned for 2015.
GE Aviation expects to chop off about 25 percent of the total 3D printing time of metallic production components for its LEAP Turbofan engine, using in-process inspection. That's pretty amazing, considering how slow additive manufacturing (AM) build times usually are.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This radio show will show what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.