Biobased chemicals are chemicals derived or synthesized in whole or in part from biomass. Biobased chemicals, and biobased products more generally, encompass diverse categories such as flame retardant polymers, corrosion inhibitors, antimicrobials and antifungals, preservatives, lubricants, insecticides, soaps and detergents, fertilizers, and bioplastics, to name a few.
What is biomass?
Biomass is material derived from recently living organisms, which includes plants, animals and their by-products. For example, manure, garden waste, and crop residues are all sources of biomass. It is a renewable energy source based on the carbon cycle, unlike other natural resources such as petroleum, coal, and nuclear fuels.
What are biomass feedstocks?
Biomass feedstocks are the plant and algal materials used to derive fuels (like ethanol, butanol, and biodiesel), chemicals, energy, and other materials, either as direct or functional replacements for petroleum-derived products, or as novel products. Examples of biomass feedstocks include corn starch, sugarcane juice, crop residues such as corn stover and sugarcane bagasse, purpose-grown grass crops, and woody plants.
Want to know more?
Check out these additional online resources:
- American Chemical Society: Biobased Chemicals
- National Renewable Energy Laboratory: Biomass Energy Basics
- U.S. Department of Energy Bioenergy Technologies Office: Biomass Resources, Bioproduct Basics, and Bioproducts: A Clean Energy Solution Fact Sheet
- U.S. Energy Information Administration: Biomass explained