• Pine resin touted as possible sustainable alternative to oil

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      Patrick Lavery

      Combustion Industry News Editor

The traditional practice of pine resin tapping, still practiced in the central Spanish region of Castilla y León, has been suggested as a possible sustainable alternative to petroleum extraction. Practiced for centuries (not only in Spain), pine resin has been used for the waterproofing of ships and treatment of burns, and in industrial times for the production of plastics, varnishes, glues, tyres, rubber, turpentine and food additives. Blanca Rodríguez-Chaves, vice dean of the faculty of law at the Autonomous University of Madrid, told the BBC that resin “is the petroleum of the world today and in the future. The intention is that all uses of petroleum are replaced by resin.” Given that it is more biodegradable, and would mean additional forestry, there may additional environmental benefits in the switch. However, one would imagine that a very large scaling-up would be required to meet future oil demand – in 1961, Spain’s peak year of pine resin extraction, only 55,267 tonnes were extracted.