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Independent Professional: Experienced educator and management consultant for engineering educational institutions, researcher, trainer, technical consultant on sustainable technologies, related to cement manufacturing and characterisation, using industrial and agricultural wastes in cement and concrete, durability of concrete and fuel cell power.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Converting CO2 into BPA-free plastics

Researchers say they have identified several classes of organic chemicals that can capture carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and then be used to make more environmentally benign plastics. Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore used chemicals called imidazoliums and N-heterocyclic carbenes to couple CO2 with “epoxide” molecules to create polycarbonate plastics that can be used in a variety of applications, from drinking bottles to compact discs. Significantly, in addition to finding a use for carbon dioxide, these polycarbonates do not contain bisphenol A (BPA), a potentially harmful chemical found in most commercial polycarbonate plastics in use today. The imidazolium salts are stable enough that they can repeatedly “grab” CO2 molecules and incorporate them into larger molecules in the plastic-making process, according to a study published in the journal Energy & Environmental Science. The process also eliminates the need for petroleum in the manufacture of plastics.

Ref:  Zhang, Y and J Young Gerentt Chan. 2010. Sustainable chemistry: imidazolium salts in biomass conversion and CO2 fixation. Energy and Environmental Science http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/b914206a.