IBM and Stanford University Unveil Plant Based Environmentally Sustainable Plastics
March 10, 2010
(ChattahBox) – Researchers at IBMs Almaden Research Center and Stanford University have developed a potentially revolutionary method of producing environmentally-friendly plastic from plants. The new line of organic catalysts they say could revolutionize the green plastics industry by giving it a set of tools to build up — and break down — plastics in a more environmentally friendly and energy efficient way. The “green chemistry” breakthrough results in plastics that could be repeatedly recycled, instead of only once as is the case with petroleum-based plastic made using metal oxide catalysts, which ultimately wind up in a landfill.
“This discovery and new approach using organic catalysts could lead to well-defined, biodegradable molecules made from renewable resources in an environmentally responsible way,” IBM said in a release.
This type of bio-degradable plastics or plant plastics could also be made ‘biocompatible’ to form a part of drugs for cancer cells. IBM is working with scientists at King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia to put the discovery to work in the recycling of plastics used in food and beverage containers.
The find will be detailed in a paper ‘Organocatalysis: Opportunities and Challenges for Polymer Synthesis’, to be published in the American Chemical Society journal Macromolecules.