An interdisciplinary team of bio-engineers and economists from KU Leuven has mapped out how wood could replace petroleum in the chemical industry. They not only looked at the technological requirements, but also whether that scenario would be financially viable. A shift from petroleum to wood would lead to a reduction in CO2 emissions, the researchers state in Science.
Our plastics, cleaning agents and building materials are usually made from chemical components derived from petroleum, rather than from renewable materials. Petroleum is currently cheaper to use as a raw material. But