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Orange Peel Polymer :: ergo Citra-Solv Plastics!

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  • RemyC
    From: http://www.idfuel.com/index.php?p=372&more=1&c=1 Oranges Are Good For You (And The Earth) 01.20.05 by Dominic Muren Two of the top stories of the last
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 29, 2005

      Oranges Are Good For You (And The Earth)
      01.20.05 by Dominic Muren

      Two of the top stories of the last year have been that world oil production
      is peaking, and that climate change is real, and human-caused. And
      interestingly, this week, Cornell University researchers announced a new
      type of plastic which is a first step toward addressing both problems. Thank
      your lucky stars for oranges.

      Cornell Scientists announced this week that they had developed a novel
      polymer composed of an oily component of orange peels, and carbon dioxide.
      Since CO2 is a greenhouse gas currently being held responsible for a large
      amount of climate change, sequestering it in non-atmospheric form is a
      pressing concern. Hundreds of different ideas, from pumping liquid CO2 to
      the bottom of the ocean, to injecting it into abandoned wells have been
      proposed, but most are too expensive, or ineffective.

      However, if this process could store a viable amount of CO2, the process
      could actually be made to make money, since at the end, you would have
      saleable plastic. Furthermore, since this plastic requires no petroleum
      products (Other than to power the equipment to make it, but this could
      utilize a non-petroleum power source), it would ease our need for oil.

      This is just the latest and most thorough success in a growing movement to
      utilize industrial waste streams as resources. Products like Ultratouch
      insulation, which uses offcuts of cotton cloth for fiber, or Smile Plastics
      which re-forms reject plastic parts into unique raw plastic sheeting, are
      also helping to turn the tide of material use and waste production. Or, on
      the pure product end, MIO culture lab converts the waste stream or derelict
      manufacturer directly into new products.

      So what about your product? Is there some wastestream just waiting for you
      to claim it?


      Sweet and environmentally beneficial discovery: Plastics made from orange
      peel and a greenhouse gas

      FOR RELEASE: Jan. 17, 2005
      Media contact: David Brand
      deb27@ cornell.edu

      Professor Geoffrey Coates, left, holds the reactor he used to make a polymer
      using a citrus fruit extract and carbon dioxide, as postdoctoral chemistry
      associate Scott Allen, center, and chemistry doctoral student Chris Byrne
      display other ingredients essential to the novel process. Byrne is holding a
      flask of limonene oxide (oxidized orange peel oil), and Allen holds a beaker
      containing the polymer they created. Nicola Kountoupes/Cornell University
      PhotographyCopyright © Cornell University Click on the image for a
      high-resolution version (1800 x 1200 pixels, 1798K)

      ITHACA, N.Y. -- A Cornell University research group has made a sweet and
      environmentally beneficial discovery -- how to make plastics from citrus
      fruits, such as oranges, and carbon dioxide.

      In a paper published in a recent issue of the Journal of the American
      Chemical Society (Sept. 2004), Geoffrey Coates, a Cornell professor of
      chemistry and chemical biology, and his graduate students Chris Byrne and
      Scott Allen describe a way to make polymers using limonene oxide and carbon
      dioxide, with the help of a novel "helper molecule" -- a catalyst developed
      in the researchers' laboratory.

      Limonene is a carbon-based compound produced in more than 300 plant species.
      In oranges it makes up about 95 percent of the oil in the peel.

      In industry, Coates explains, the orange peel oil is extracted for various
      uses, such as giving household cleaners their citrus scent. The oil can be
      oxidized to create limonene oxide. This is the reactive compound that Coates
      and his collaborators used as a building block.

      The other building block they used was carbon dioxide (CO2), an atmospheric
      gas that has been rising steadily over the past century and a half -- due
      largely to the combustion of fossil fuels -- becoming an environmentally
      harmful greenhouse gas.

      By using their catalyst to combine the limonene oxide and CO2, the Coates
      group produced a novel polymer -- called polylimonene carbonate -- that has
      many of the characteristics of polystyrene, a petroleum-based plastic
      currently used to make many disposable plastic products.

      "The polymer is a repeating unit, much like a strand of paper dolls. But
      instead of repeating dolls, the components alternate between limonene oxide
      and CO2 -- in the polymer," says Coates. Neither limonene oxide nor CO2 form
      polymers on their own, but when put together, a promising product is

      "Almost every plastic out there, from the polyester in clothing to the
      plastics used for food packaging and electronics, goes back to the use of
      petroleum as a building block," Coates observes. "If you can get away from
      using oil and instead use readily abundant, renewable and cheap resources,
      then that's something we need to investigate. What's exciting about this
      work is that from completely renewable resources, we were able to make a
      plastic with very nice qualities."

      The Coates research team is particularly interested in using CO2 as an
      alternative building block for polymers. Instead of being pumped into the
      atmosphere as a waste product, CO2 could be isolated for use in producing
      plastics, such as polylimonene carbonate.

      The Coates laboratory comprises 18 chemists, about half of them striving to
      make recyclable and biodegradable materials out of cheap, readily available
      and environmentally friendly building blocks. "Today we use things once and
      throw them away because plastics are cheap and abundant. It won't be like
      that in the future," says Coates. "At some point we will look back and say,
      'Wow, remember when we would take plastic containers and just throw them

      The research was supported by the Packard Foundation fellowship program, the
      National Science Foundation, the Cornell Center for Materials Research and
      the Cornell University Center for Biotechnology.

      Reported and written by graduate student Sarah Davidson, a science writer
      intern with Cornell News Service.

      Related World Wide Web sites: The following sites provide additional
      information on this news release. Some might not be part of the Cornell
      University community, and Cornell has no control over their content or

      The Coates Research Group:

      Geoffrey W. Coates obtained a B.A. degree in chemistry from Wabash College
      in 1989 and a Ph.D. in organic chemistry from Stanford University in 1994.
      His thesis work, under the direction of Robert M. Waymouth, investigated the
      stereoselectivity of metallocene-based Ziegler-Natta catalysts. Following
      his doctoral studies, he was an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow with Robert H.
      Grubbs at the California Institute of Technology.

      During the summer of 1997 he joined the faculty of Cornell University as an
      Assistant Professor of Chemistry. He was promoted to Associate Professor in
      2001 and Professor in 2002. He is an Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow, and
      has received awards from the NSF (CAREER), MIT Technology Review Magazine
      (TR 100 Award), Research Corporation (Innovation Award), Arnold and Mabel
      Beckman Foundation (Young Investigator Award), David and Lucile Packard
      Foundation (Fellowship in Science and Engineering), ACS (A. C. Cope Scholar,
      A. K. Doolittle, and Akron Section Awards), and Dreyfus Foundation (Camille
      and Henry Dreyfus New Faculty and Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Awards).

      His main research interests are the design, synthesis, characterization, and
      applications of polymers, with an emphasis on catalytic transformations and
      the control of stereochemistry.

      Mailing Address (Correspondence)
      Geoffrey W. Coates
      Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology
      Baker Laboratory
      Cornell University
      Ithaca, NY 14853-1301

      Shipping Address (UPS, Express mail)
      Geoffrey W. Coates
      G-75 Chemistry Research Building
      Cornell University
      Ithaca, NY 14853-1301

      607-255-5447 FAX 607-255-4137
      gc39@ cornell.edu
      (Note: Postdoc applications sent by email will NOT be accepted)

      Coates Group Phone Numbers

      Olin 565

      Olin 562/570/572
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