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

| Written by David Morris | No Comments | Updated on Dec 12, 1992 The content that follows was originally published on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance website at

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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About David Morris

David Morris is co-founder of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance and directs its initiative on The Public Good. He is the author of the New City States, Seeing the Light, and three other non-fiction books. His essays on public policy are regularly published by On the Commons, Alternet, Common Dreams and the Huffington Post.

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