Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/1/2006
Publication Date: 9/22/2006
Citation: Stymne, S., Dyer, J.M., Carlsson, A. 2006. FOUNDATION PAPER FOR THE PLANT OIL FLAGSHIP. In: Proceedings of the Pre-Conference Introductory Papers. EPOBIO Workshop: Products from Plants--the Biorefinery Future. 15pp. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: Over the last century we have become dependent on fossil fuels not just as an energy source for transportation and heating but also for the provision of industrial feedstocks for a multitude of products that we use in every aspect of our daily lives. Fossil fuels are a finite resource and as this resource becomes limiting, oil prices will inevitably escalate to an even greater level than we currently experience. This will have a major negative impact on our economy and society unless alternative, sustainable sources of energy and industrial feedstocks are developed. The seed oils of plants are structurally similar to long chain hydrocarbons derived from petroleum, and thus represent excellent renewable resources for oleochemical production. About 15-20% of the plant oils produced (15-20 million metric tons) are currently used in non-food applications. These oils are competitive alternatives to petroleum-based raw materials for the production of a multitude of specific products such as detergents, paints, plastics and lubricants. In addition, biotechnology can be used to greatly expand the number and types of oils that are produced in plants. In this paper we provide a detailed analysis of the marketing potential of plant oils and describe avenues of research that will allow these oils to capture a greater portion of these markets. This information will serve as background information to stimulate discussions among scientists, stakeholders and policy makers to establish the research framework required to deliver the next generation of renewable, biobased products.