Mais statt Gummi
Dort schlug er US Präsident Eisenhower vor, als Rohstoff für die kriegswichtige Gummiproduktion Mais statt Rohöl zu nehmen.
Weizmann war in England ein berühmter und erfolgreicher Chemiker. Er wußte, dass sein Verfahren ein chemisch reineres Gummi erzeugte. Das Verfahren war in der Praxis erfolgreich getestet worden, auch in den USA.
Die amerikanische Öl-Lobby wehrte diese Innovation ab.
In seinen Erinnerungen schreibt Weizmann:*
My proposal, which I made officially to Mr. William Clayton, Under Secretary of State for Economics, was to ferment maize – of which millions of bushels were available in the United States and Canada – and convert them into butyl alcohol and acetone by my process, which was established and working on a large scale in various parts of America.
The butyl alcohol could without difficulty be used for the making of butylene and the butylene easily converted into butadiene, the basis for rubber.
I knew that large quantities of butadiene were already beeing made out of oil […]
But I had come too late, or at any rate very late; the Government had already engaged the oil companies, and to initiate a process which had not the approval of the oil companies was almost too much of a task for any human being.[…]
One result was that I became, to my intense distaste, the center of an argument which took on a political character; it was the Farmers Union versus the oil companies.[…]
In the end I handed over my processes to a firm in Philadelphia, which began to apply it during the war, and continues to do so now.
* Chaim Weizmann, Trial and error, New York 1949, S. 429f.
Photo: Chaim Weizmann (Wikipedia, PD)