Every day the average person encounters tens, if not hundreds, of items that are made from petroleum and petroleum-based components. From the keyboard this article was typed with, to our daily grooming products and their containers, and the textiles we wear – petroleum products are everywhere: be it plastics, fragrances, dyes, or additives. Not only is petroleum in limited supply, the refining and production processes can cause air pollution and other environmentally unfriendly effects.
Several programs and research groups within the Biosciences area are working hard to find biologically derived components to find a sustainable and high-quality replacement for those that come from petroleum.
Here is a round-up of just some of the research we are doing to create sustainable bioproducts:
- Making indigoidine – a sustainably produced blue pigment
- Producing high-value chemicals from renewable sources
- Transforming waste from the paper industry into useful chemicals
- Working with Checkerspot to make algae based skis
- Designing plants to make new molecules
- Collaborating with industry partners to create biodegradable plastics
- Making biofuels less expensive by turning production leftovers into useful chemicals
- Converting woody debris into a useable fuel
- Machine learning in organic acid development
- Partnering with industry to accelerate sustainable biomanufacturing