Think steel is the only way to make something really strong? New research seems to have made material out of organic material that is as strong but tips the scale at a fifth the weight. From the article:
Microfibrillation destroys the original bundles of cellulose fibers in plants, and creates a new structure consisting of tiny interconnected microfibrils.
We all remember from way back when that plants are, in fact, a renewable resource. While this process can produce steel-like material, it can also produce softer plastic-like materials. Replacing plastic with the cellulose-based materials lessens the need for oil, as plastic is derived from oil. Crude oil is refined and portions of it are used to create plastics of several varieties. While plastics do not consume a large portion of crude oil (estimates put it around 4%), certainly anything that can reduce the demand on oil, and increase research into renewable resources, should be encouraged. Hopefully this use for cellulose will prove beneficial on many levels.