The energy revolution is one of the topics that has not fallen off the agenda in recent years. A similar development is also experienced in the field of chemistry. With each passing year, chemical companies use more and more herbal chemicals in production. In the production facility of Auro, which produces natural dyes in the city of Braunschweig, the smell of straw spreads when the dye produced from rezeda, or budgerigar, is mixed. Production manager Helmut Nieder said, “The raw material we use is waste. We can use the flower, leaves, stem, in short, all parts of the plant above the ground in the production of natural pigments.
The love flower is boiled for about 30 minutes until it completely releases its yellow color, then the mixture to which aluminum oxide is added is filtered. The resulting color pigment becomes ready for use after drying.
1983-year-old chemist Hermann Fischer, one of the founders of the company that has been producing since 60, notes that he wanted to produce all chemical products from natural products at that time, but this requires a very detailed research process.
Fischer said, “We did not want to produce according to old recipes with nostalgic methods. Because the ancients were not very strict about using products containing arsenic. The main idea in the establishment of the company was to combine classical raw materials science with modern and eco-toxicology-based scientific expertise,” he says.
Today, the company uses nearly 100 different dyes, resins, oils and waxes derived from plants, as well as 20 different minerals derived from the soil. It is not possible to come across substances containing oil and coal here. Hermann Fischer calls their method "renewable chemistry".
Herbal chemicals are currently used in the chemical industry in the production of detergents and adhesives. Polylactic acid obtained from corn starch is used in the production of bags, flax and hemp fibers are used to strengthen plastic parts used in vehicles.
13 percent of chemical raw materials used by chemical companies in Germany are organic. However, according to Hermann Fischer, it is also possible to produce without using any fossil raw materials. Fischer notes that every year thousands of times more biomass is produced by nature than would be enough to abandon the use of petroleum and coal-based chemicals in all chemical plants. The chemist disagrees with claims that such use could cause starvation in Africa, Asia or Latin America.
Fischer said, “I find this discussion important because the topic of food always takes precedence. However, the discussion in question is handled very casually. For example, it is ignored that even the edible part of the plants that we actually consume as food is a very small part of the plant in general.”
'Chemistry will experience its golden age'
For example, only two percent of the plant is used to obtain flax oil from flaxseed. The remaining 98 percent, which includes fiber, dyestuffs and stems of the plant, is not used.
Hermann Fischer points out that chemists still have a long way to go before they can use all the potential that nature has to offer.
“This means there is a huge field that needs to be explored further,” Fischer said. Therefore, the professions of future chemists are safe. To put this into words more literally, it is possible to say that chemistry will have a golden age in the future on a much different basis.”
According to Hermann Fischer, one of the most important advantages of renewable chemistry is its sustainability. Noting that resources such as oil, coal and natural gas are constantly decreasing, the chemist emphasizes that the chemicals obtained from plants are safe as long as the photosynthesis process continues.
Source : news