Polystyrene is one of the most environmentally hazardous petrochemical waste products because it does not break down. Scion researches look for a way to make an alternative plastic product from wood, and particularly from lignin, a phytonutrient from plants.
We learn about the potential of wood pulp as an ingredient that can be combined with standard plastic to make wood-reinforced plastic.
The paper manufacturing industry uses vast amounts of chemicals that are often are of environmental concern. Is there a cheaper way to whiten paper that is less hazardous to the environment? Learn how researchers are making progress in this area.
By using the proper catalyst, a scientist proves that his bleaching compound works as well as chlorine to bleach paper--and it is an environmentally safe end product. Computer graphics aid viewers' understanding of catalysis in the chemical process.
Can science unleash the incredible power of photosynthesis? Learn the basics of photosynthesis. A scientist describes the value of this biochemical process that entails splitting of the water molecule. Will science ever be able to duplicate the process in laboratory conditions? We learn about cyanobacteria.
Butanol is a fuel usually derived from petroleum. A scientist shows butanol that was derived from a biological organism. He explains how he made it. Butanol is a direct replacement for gasoline. Could it replace the world's oil supply?
Credits: Chemistry: Ever Wondered? (Series 2)
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Chemistry is how science investigates what makes the world around us. It’s every piece of matter, every molecule. So how are top scientists in New Zealand contributing to this vast pool of knowledge? This episode visits with Scion research institute’s Jeremy Warnes, who is trying to replace petrochemicals with green chemistry. One area Scion is focusing on is coming up with an eco-friendly alternative to polystyrene. In one of the Scion labs, host John Watt gets a crash course in how to create a polystyrene replacement using a bio-plastic made from corn. Original title: Chemistry. A part of Ever Wondered? (Series 2). (22 minutes)
Length: 23 minutes
Copyright date: ©2012
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