Most of the carbon-based compounds currently manufactured by the chemical industry are derived from petroleum. The rising cost and dwindling supply of oil have been focusing attention on possible routes to making chemicals, fuels, and solvents from biomass instead. In this context, many recent studies have assessed the relative merits of applying different dedicated crops to chemical production. Here, we highlight the opportunities for diverting existing residual biomass - the by-products of present agricultural and food-processing streams - to this end.
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