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Keywords:

  • catalysts;
  • monomers;
  • polyesters;
  • polyethers;
  • polyolefins;
  • renewable resources

Abstract

This highlight discusses the recent progress aimed at maximizing the potential of biomass for commodity monomers and polymers. These efforts are no longer solely academic issues. In recent years, a variety of alkene, diene, aromatic, and condensation type monomers have utilized renewable resources, such as cellulose, lignin, plant oils, starches, and monoterpenes in commercial polymers. Generally, these multifaceted efforts involve pretreatment of biomass with thermal, chemical, or physical methods followed by a catalyst sequence that entails a combination of acid-catalysis, bio-catalysis, or metal-based catalysis. In this regard, synthesis strategies for ethylene, propylene, α-olefins, methylmethacrylate, 1,3-butadiene, 1,3-cyclohexadiene, isoprene, 1,3-propanediol, 1,4-butanediol, and terephthalic acid are discussed as well as opportunities for other renewable-based monomers. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Polym Sci Part A: Polym Chem, 2012