Researchers using a new chemical process have converted the cellulose in sawdust into hydrocarbon chains, building blocks for gasoline.
Cellulose is the main substance in plant matter and is present in all non-edible plant parts of wood, straw, grass, cotton and old paper. These hydrocarbons can be used as an additive in gasoline or as a component in plastics.
"At the molecular level, cellulose contains strong carbon chains. We sought to conserve these chains, but drop the oxygen bonded to them, which is undesirable in high-grade gasoline. Our researcher Beau Op de Beeck developed a new method to derive these hydrocarbon chains from cellulose," explains Professor Bert Sels.