Continuing a tradition, this first issue of 2014 of EJLST is a special issue covering the highlights of the 6th Workshop on Fats and Oils as Renewable Feedstock for the Chemical Industry, which was held in Karlsruhe (Germany) at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) from March 17–19, 2013. The 11 papers published in this issue will give you an update on the newest developments in the field of oleochemistry and are a snapshot of the 34 lectures and 32 posters presented in Karlsruhe. The ∼120 delegates enjoyed new insights on fatty acid derived (and other renewable) monomers and polymers, (bio)catalysis, physical properties, applications, and other topics. A continuing trend, which was also observed in the contributions presented in Karlsruhe, is the use of fatty acid derivatives for the synthesis of renewable polymers. This trend is not observed only in academic research but also in the chemical industry, as for instance evidenced in presentations by Evonik on “Biobased Polyamides past, present and future” or Alberdingk Boley on “Polyurethane dispersions based on renewable resource materials – off to pasture new!”.
This special issue of EJLST covers all important aspects of novel developments in oleochemistry. For instance, Biermann and Metzger introduce a catalytic route to produce triethers from triacyl glycerols using GaBr3 as catalysts and 1,1,3,3-tetramethyldisiloxane as reducing agent . This guarantees an easy access to ethers from esters and in the described case a novel route to plant oil derived materials that might be useful for, for instance, lubricants with improved chemical stability. Equally interesting and novel, two manuscripts describe the synthesis of polymeric particles from plant oil derivatives using (mini)emulsion technology [2, 3]. The prepared particles might be useful as colloidal delivery vehicles or be able to substitute (at least partially) styrene in polymeric lattices. Moreover, improvements in analytical techniques, several novel renewable polymers, and new insights into catalytic routes (enzymatic as well as heterogeneous) are discussed in this special issue, which clearly demonstrates the manifold application possibilities of plant oils as renewable feedstock.
Last but not least, we would like to invite you to participate at the 7th workshop on “Fats and Oils as Renewable Feedstock for the Chemical Industry,” which will be held at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Karlsruhe, Germany, from March 23–25, 2014. Hopefully you will have the opportunity to participate, and we are looking forward to exciting and fruitful discussions with you, the fats and oils community. The program and additional information can be downloaded from http://www.abiosus.org/kit-workshop-2014.html
Jürgen O. Metzger
Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg &
abiosus e.V., Oldenburg, Germany
Michael A. R. Meier
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)