The UC San Diego researchers who developed algae-based flip-flops and surfboards are at it again.
The UC San Diego researchers who developed algae-based flip-flops and surfboards are at it again. This time they are advancing their brand of renewable and biodegradable materials for use in other products like coated fabrics, patent leather and adhesives, with some foodie flare, too—flavors and fragrances.
The latest research by Michael Burkart, Stephen Mayfield and Robert Pomeroy—online in Green Chemistry, a journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry—outlines their efforts to develop methods for producing microalgae-based polyols—monomer units for polyurethane polymers—that can be used to make polyurethane foams with waste oils from algae biomass.
Many researches consider algae one of the best renewable resources for replacing fossil fuels and battling global warming without impacting food supplies. But unlike vegetable oils, the oil from algae contains small organic contaminants, like photosynthetic pigments and other cofactors that can complicate their use.
Read more at University Of California - San Diego
Figure: Scheme 1 shows the pathway to renewable polyurethane, n-hexane and methyl heptanoate synthesis from algae biomass. Figure courtesy of the UC San Diego research team