Environmentally Friendly Synthesis of Biobased Plastic from Lignin Derived Building Blocks to Replace Poly(ethylene Terephthalate) (PET)
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- Department of Chemistry 
The resources of petroleum are decreasing, and new ways have to be found of producing all the energy and chemicals that today are based on petroleum. An alternative to petroleum is renewable biomass, where lignocellulosic biomass comprises the largest amount. This biomass contains mainly cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin. One of the products that is usually derived from petroleum is poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET). This is a common type of plastic, which among other things, is used in food containers and clothing. It is produced from terephthalic acid, which is derived from petroleum, and ethylene glycol, which can be derived either from petroleum or from biomass. An environmental friendly alternative to PET is of great interest. A biobased alternative to PET has previously been investigated by developing a synthetic route to poly[4-(2-hydroxyethoxy)-3-methoxybenzoic acid] from the potentially biobased vanillic acid in a two-step synthesis via 4-(2-hydroxyethoxy)-3-methoxybenzoic acid. This provides the foundation of this thesis, where the synthetic route will be adopted and adjusted. The overall results produced the desired monomer after some adjustments to the method. The monomer synthesis provided lower yields than published in the literature. A detailed analysis and elucidation of the product showed a pure product of the desired monomer. In this thesis, a new method of polymerization is tested. As the stirring needed to be increased, the procedure was executed in a rotary evaporator. This method gave indications of a better degree of polymerization, as well as being easier to handle from a laboratory technical point of view. By comparing the results of the polymerization to the results found in literature, a higher yield was achieved. The analytical results were somewhat different, as some parameters could not be determined. The values that were found gave a close proximity to the literature values. A close proximity was found to the thermal properties of PET, thus supporting the possibility of replacing this polymer commercially with renewably based chemicals.