Plastic From Orange Peel  

Posted by Big Gav

The BBC and IDFuel report that a process for creating plastic from orange peel has been discovered.

US scientists have discovered a way to make plastics from orange peel, using the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide.

Cornell University researchers created a novel polymer using CO2, an oil present in orange peel and a catalyst that speeds the reaction along. The team hopes CO2 could one day be collected for making plastics instead of being pumped into the atmosphere.

Limonene is a carbon-based compound that makes up about 95% of the oil in orange peel and is used to give household cleaners their citrus smell. Geoffrey Coates, a professor of chemistry at Cornell in Ithaca, US, and colleagues used a derivative of this oil called limonene oxide as one of the building blocks for their polymer.

The researchers used a helper molecule, or catalyst, to get the limonene oxide to react with CO2 and form a new polymer called polylimonene carbonate. This polymer has many of the characteristics of polystyrene, which is used in numerous disposable plastic products.

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