Nylon Breakthrough: One Strand of Earth’s Lifeline


“Optimism is a political act. Those who benefit from the status quo are perfectly happy for us to think that nothing is going to get any better.”
— Alex Steffen, The Bright Green City

A young, environmentally focused chemist sent me news of a breakthrough in producing nylon, that ubiquitous chemical used for everything from stockings to zip-ties to jackets, tents and sails. Described in a recent paper by researchers Hwang and Sagadevan from National Tsing Hua University, Taiwan, the new process, if it can be brought to industrial production scale, would use far less energy and reduce nitrous oxide emissions dramatically. This addresses an enormous environmental problem: considered over a 100-year period, nitrous oxide has 298 times more global warming potential than carbon dioxide, and nylon synthesis creates five to eight percent of those emissions from 10 billion pounds of nylon produced per year.

And that’s just nylon…

It seems like everyone is working on a solution to climate change. The poet and naturalist Diane Ackerman summarized some of the grandest schemes for Wired: India has announced an ambitious plan to transition the entire —> Read More Here


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