Structure of Cellulose

• Cellulose contains the basic C-C chains required to manufacture petrochemicals
• Unlike fossil fuels, cellulose is a readily available raw material and the major constituent of biomass (material made entirely or in large part by living organisms), making it a renewable resource.
• Cellulose can be broken down by glucose by acid digestion or through cellulase enzymes, once broken, glucose can be fermented to form ethanol, which is an industrially important solvent, as well as being a useful fuel extender in vehicles.
• Cellulose is biodegradable and can be used to develop biopolymers such as rayon, cellophane and cellulose acetate.
• Ethanol can be further reacted in a dehydration reaction to form ethylene, which is an industrially significant monomer used to manufacture many petrochemicals.
• Ethylene can then be used to form polyethylene or other important monomers such as vinyl chloride and styrene.
• It is the formation of ethanol and ethylene from cellulose that gives it the potential as a raw material in the production of petrochemicals.

• Breaking cellulose by acid digestion or through cellulose enzymes are both time consuming and expensive as it has strong $\beta$-1,4-glycosidic bonds which are difficult to break.