Plastic Can Be Made from Orange Peels and CO2

Oil in orange peels called limonene is catalyzed with carbon dioxide to create a novel polymer, called polylimonene carbonate, that has many of the characteristics of polystyrene, but is biodegradable

Published: 18-Jan-2005

[India News]: Washington, Jan 18 : A team of researchers from the Cornell University hope to kill two birds with one stone after they have developed a plastic bag which is made out of orange peels and CO2, which makes it both biodegradable and renewable at the same time.

In their study, which has been published in the journal 'American Chemical Society,' the scientists describe a way to make polymers using limonene oxide, which is found in citrus fruits, 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. The oil can be oxidized to create limonene oxide. This is the reactive compound that the researchers used as a building block.

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