I attended the Gordon Research Conference on “Biomass to Biobased Chemicals and Materials” in Maine in July. It was attended by about 140 scientists and engineers and featured 22 lectures and 64 posters. In recent years there has been increasing interest in the use of biomass and biobased materials for R&D and product development as part of the effort to help sustain natural resources, reduce the dependence on petroleum, decrease waste from plastics, and minimize environmental impact of some chemical processes. Biomass includes wood, grass, algae, food waste, and agricultural byproducts, such as wheat straw, rice hull, cotton gin trash, and corn cobs. Biobased raw materials include carbohydrates, proteins, lipids, lignin, and terpenes. The papers presented at this conference reported tremendous progress in this field, with a wide array of new chemicals and materials made, often with the help of catalysts and bio-friendly processes.
I have been working in this field for quite a few years. This field is multidisciplinary, and a successful project often involves people in different disciplines, such as agriculture, analytical chemistry, biochemistry, chemical engineering, microbiology, molecular biology, organic chemistry, and polymer chemistry. I find this aspect of the field very exciting. For more information on my research, please check the following website - https://hncheng-acs.org/research/