Scientists Are Making Carbon Fiber From Plants Instead of Petroleum

Carbon fiber is the Superman of materials. Five times stronger than steel and a fraction of the weight, it is used in everything from tennis rackets to golf clubs to bicycles to wind turbine blades to passenger airplanes to Formula One race cars . There’s just one catch: Carbon fiber is made from oil and other costly ingredients, making the end product exceptionally expensive. That’s why carbon fiber shows up in race cars but rarely makes it into minivans. That could change. Scientists say it may soon be possible to make carbon fiber from plants instead of petroleum, driving down costs, making the material more widely available for use in cars, planes and other vehicles. Carbon fiber is made from