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When will agriculture become source of oil and its derivatives?

Oil is a fossil fuel and is derived form irreplaceable source. While projections vary, the general consensus is that this resource may dry off after several years. Is there any alternative to oil? Some strongly believe that nuclear fission or hydrogen could be the alternative for developing energy and could meet almost 55-60% of the present use of oil. However, how would we develop the other derivative products or even petrol that is used as fuel for automobiles? Perhaps electrical sources could be used for automobile in future, but the other derivatives have to depend upon oil.

The farmers along with scientists are now developing bio refineries that will eventually produce oil from agricultural products - to be more precise agricultural wastes. At present this development is at the experimental stage. Some success has been achieved in the form of ethanol that can be used to generate ethylene as well as fuel for automobile from agriculture. More work is required to develop truly bio refinery. It will possibly take more than decades before bio refinery can be seen in actual usage.

Concurrently, a US$15 million federal grant will be used to flag off a new manufacturing sector in mid-Michigan that will create products from the state's abundant supply of grains and plants instead of from petrochemicals. Mid Michigan plans to capture the entire value chain, from the seed of the plant/trees to the bio-refineries that make the foundational chemicals, to the (manufacturing) plants that turn the foundational chemicals into the plastics and other polymers.

Mitsubishi Motors and the Aichi Industrial Technology Institute, have jointly developed an automotive interior material which uses a plant-based resin, polybutylene succinate (PBS), combined with bamboo fibre. Parts made from the material will be used in the interior of a new-concept minicar, to be launched in Japan in 2007. PBS, the main component of the material, is a plant-based resin composed mainly of succinic acid and 1,4-butanediol. The succinic acid for the material will be created through the fermentation of sugar extracted from sugar cane or corn. The new material combines bamboo fibre with PBS in order to increase its rigidity. Use of these renewable plant-based resources, which it has been developing since 2004, will add no CO2 to the atmosphere. According to tests, this PBS/bamboo-fibre prototype achieves an estimated 50% cut in lifecycle CO2 emissions over polypropylene. VOC (volatile organic compounds) levels are also reduced by almost 85% in testing - over processed wood hardboards
Mitsubishi has dubbed its plant-based resin technology "Green Plastics" that will substitute plant-based resins and quick-growing plant fibres for materials such as petroleum-based resins and wood hardboards used in car interiors. Bamboo grows to its full height in just a few years, compared with the tens of years required for traditional timber, and as such can be considered a sustainable resource. Bamboo is available and can be grown in a wide variety of areas including Japan, China, and Southeast Asia.

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