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The Unlikely Commercial Potential Of Spider Webs

Clinics and industrialists are trying to make use of the unique fibers of spider webs. But producing the precious molecule that forms it in sufficient quantities isn't easy.

The Nephila clavipes' "golden web"
The Nephila clavipes' "golden web"
Lucile Morin

HANNOVER — The female Nephila Clavipes, a spider as big as the palm of the hand and present all across the Southern Hemisphere, weaves huge, golden webs that are worth a lot. Light, surprisingly elastic and flexible, as well as being more resistant than steel or nylon, the natural silk this arachnid produces also has shape retention memory.

Industrialists looking for high-performance technical fibers and textiles have had their eyes on the qualities of this biological material for a long time. But although the weaving of this dazzling yellow thread has been mastered since the 17th century to make sumptuous sets of clothing, supply is a more delicate question.

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Economy

The Bogus Concept Of "Carbon-Neutral" Oil

The Colombian president recently said that the country had exported one million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset oil. But in an unregulated carbon market, such a claim is pure greenwashing.

People walk in the streets of Bogotá

María Mónica Monsalve Sánchez

-OpEd-

BOGOTÁ - In March this year, various national and corporate leaders met in Houston, Texas, for CERAWeek, an annual conference to discuss the world's energy challenges. Colombia's President Iván Duque took the opportunity to remind participants that his country produced just 0.6% of the world's carbon emissions even as it had raised crude production to one million barrels a day.

He said oil should not be seen as an enemy, since the fight was really against greenhouse gas emissions. He also revealed at the event that the country's national oil firm, Ecopetrol, had sold the Asian market its first million barrels of carbon-neutral or offset crude, consisting of the entire extraction, production and exportation chain.

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