Metal chloride catalytic conversion of glucose to hydroxymethylfurfural

It probably sounds kinda boring and weak as a post title but it signals a very important scientific discovery. In an article published in Science magazine (fulltext, abstract) we learn that a team lead by chemist Conrad Zhang at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory has discovered that chromium dichloride can catalyze the transformation of one the major components of plant cellulose into another chemical that can easily be used as a plastic or even fuel stock precursor. Environmentally speaking, this means logging for plastics rather than drilling. It means that a sustainable plastics industry just became a lot closer to reality.

More coverage at Scientific American and the Press Esc blog

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