Dr Hctor Rodrguez said: "The discovery is a significant step towards the development of the biorefinery concept, where biomass is transformed to produce a wide variety of chemicals. Eventually, this may open a door to a truly sustainable chemical industry based on bio-renewable resources."
The approaches that the scientists are considering for the future include the addition of eco-friendly additives to the ionic liquid system or the use of catalysts.
The researchers are hoping to eventually achieve better dissolution under even softer conditions and are also trying to achieve complete separation of the different elements in one single step.
Both teams are also focusing on biomasses which are rich in essential oils and can later be used in processes such as the manufacture of fragrances.
|Contact: Emma Blee|
Queen's University Belfast