Many of the chemicals and plastics are presently produced from fossil resources such as petroleum and natural gas, and hence the fossil resources depletion is not just the issue of energy resources. Biomass is the only renewable carbon resource that can be utilized for the sustainable utilization of chemicals and materials. Accordingly, the establishment of the conversion ways of biomass into useful biochemicals and biomaterials is desired for the future sustainable society. In our laboratory, effective production methods of biochemicals/biomaterials from biomass resources have been studied through controlling the pyrolysis reactions based on the molecular mechanism information as well as the efficient extraction of plant extractives.
There are two options for utilization of biochemicals and biomaterials. One is the production of the chemicals such as ethylene, benzene, and toluene, which are presently produced from fossil resources, from biomass. In this option, the present infrastructures can be utilized directly. The other option is the production of value-added chemicals that have the functional groups existing in the biomass constituents, such as hydroxyl, carbonyl, and carboxylic groups. For example, the optically active chemicals have the advantage of preparation of pharmaceuticals and other biologically active materials. To establish the latter option, we need to construct new infrastructures for the utilization of biomass characteristic chemicals/materials.
Production of biochemicals by controlling pyrolysis reactions
Production of useful chemicals form plants