The Carbohydrate Economy: Making Chemicals and Industrial Materials from Plant Matter

The Carbohydrate Economy: Making Chemicals and Industrial Materials from Plant Matter

Date: 12 Dec 1992 | posted in: agriculture, biomaterials, Energy, environment, Waste to Wealth | 0 Facebooktwitterredditmail

This 1992 report by David Morris and Irshad Ahmed was one of the first comprehensive looks at how plant matter derived products could replace many of our fossil fuel derived materials.  One hundred and fifty years ago, all of our industrial materials were derived from plants. In 1992, plant matter accounted for less than 5% of non-food materials. The pendulum may be swinging back. New regulations raise the cost of using fossil fuels as industrial materials, while rapid advances in bioprocessing techniques lower the cost of using plant matter. This report describes the past, present, and future of a carbohydrate economy, and offers examples of pioneering products and businesses.

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David Morris
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David Morris

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and currently ILSR's distinguished fellow. His five non-fiction books range from an analysis of Chilean development to the future of electric power to the transformation of cities and neighborhoods.  For 14 years he was a regular columnist for the Saint Paul Pioneer Press. His essays on public policy have appeared in the New York TimesWall Street Journal, Washington PostSalonAlternetCommon Dreams, and the Huffington Post.