The global concern about the problems caused by the growing consumption of petrochemical compounds, such as global warming and the diminishing of fossil fuels reserves, has given rise to the green chemistry field—based on the design of products and processes that minimize the use and generation of hazardous substances—in both academy and industry. In face of the increasing demand for chemicals, sustainable and innovative technologies are necessary in order to overcome current difficulties and also avoid the evolution of new ones. The advent of agro-industry waste as a resource of raw materials has attracted the attention of researchers and opened a window of opportunity for the breakthrough of alternative products to the oil industry. In this sense, cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL), a by-product from cashew industrial processing and one of the richest natural sources of phenolic compounds, emerges as a promising and renewable feedstock for the development of a wide range of functional products. This chapter is focused on the discussion of the origin and chemical composition of the different types of CNSL, and also on the challenges involved in the methods of isolation and main applications of its major component, cardanol, in the context of a sustainable development.
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