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Researchers turn animal fats into plastic

United States – Researchers have found a way to convert animal fats such as lard and vegetable oils – including waste oil – into olefins for use in the production of plastics, trade magazine ‘Plastics & Rubber Weekly’ reports.

Maria Muro-Small and Douglas Neckers irradiated animal and vegetable fats with ultraviolet light, thereby creating a series of by-products including glycerol that can be transformed via catalytic processes into acrylic acids and other raw materials for the plastics industry.

The duo’s study, published in ‘ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering’, argues that rising demand for sustainable development and increasing raw material costs make it more important than ever to develop alternative sources of feedstock.

Neckers, who owns BioSolar LLC in Millbury, Ohio, USA, has told FoodproductionDaily.com that shortages of raw materials and the rising price of petroleum-based feedstocks are what drive experiments like the one he and Muro-Small conducted.

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