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Jack Grushcow is the president and CEO of Linnaeus Plant Sciences, which has developed synthetic oil from plants that is being used in the motors of trash compactors. He is seen in a compactor site at a Toronto Community Housing complex on February 5, 2010. (JENNIFER ROBERTS/JENNIFER ROBERTS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)
Jack Grushcow is the president and CEO of Linnaeus Plant Sciences, which has developed synthetic oil from plants that is being used in the motors of trash compactors. He is seen in a compactor site at a Toronto Community Housing complex on February 5, 2010. (JENNIFER ROBERTS/JENNIFER ROBERTS FOR THE GLOBE AND MAIL)

Earlier discussion

It's time for the next generation of biofuel Add to ...

The next big thing will be plants.

So says Jack Grushcow, who's hot on the trail of genetically modified crops able to replace the petroleum used to make plastic and engine oils.

It sounds far-fetched, but Mr. Grushcow's got a good track record as an inventor, having sold his Consumers Software Inc. to Microsoft, which used it to develop Outlook, for an amount reported to exceed $15-million in 1991.

More Related to this Story

To date, most of the effort to use plants as petroleum substitutes has been done through the biofuels craze of turning corn, soybeans and sugar cane into gasoline or diesel.

Mr. Grushcow has chosen a different fork. Instead of fuels, he says plants should be used as feedstocks to knock off high-end uses for petroleum, including polymers for plastics and nylon. Other possibilities are engine and hydraulic oils.

Read the full story here.

Mr. Grushcow joined us for a live discussion, where he fielded reader questions. View an archive of it in the box below.





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