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Waste Not, Want Not: The Fate of a New Industry

TECHNOLOGY IN THE 1990s Utilization of Lignocellulistic Wastes. B.S. Hartley, P.M.A. Broda and R.J. Senior, eds. The Royal Society, London, 1987. 568 pp. £30. It’s rare, on the opening morning of a conference, to hear the chairman ruminating that the chosen subject is no longer strictly relevant, and indicating that we may as well repack our bags and go back home. But that is exactly what happened at the Royal Society’s meeting last year on the possibility of securing both e

Bernard Dixon

TECHNOLOGY IN THE 1990s

Utilization of Lignocellulistic Wastes.
B.S. Hartley, P.M.A. Broda and R.J.
Senior, eds. The Royal Society,
London, 1987. 568 pp. £30.

It’s rare, on the opening morning of a conference, to hear the chairman ruminating that the chosen subject is no longer strictly relevant, and indicating that we may as well repack our bags and go back home. But that is exactly what happened at the Royal Society’s meeting last year on the possibility of securing both energy and chemicals by breaking down the massive amount of lignocellulose that otherwise lies around planet Earth as unwanted waste. Citing the drastic decline in the price of crude oil that had occurred since the conference was planned nearly three years earlier, the chairman suggested that the very notion of exploiting this alternative resource was now somewhat academic and certainly unrealistic.

Ah, yes, another participant pointed out, but how much...

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