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Attacking the Global Plastics Waste Problem

Beckman, Eric and Bilec, Melissa and Khanna, Vikas and Veser, Gotz and Liu, Peng and Wildermuth, Amy and Galperin, Joshua (2020) Attacking the Global Plastics Waste Problem. In: Pitt Momentum Fund 2020, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Pa. (Unpublished)

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Abstract

"Plastic waste is a growing problem on a global scale, with the annual global production of synthetic polymers (now >500 million tons per year) predicted to triple by 2050.  At present, large volumes of polymeric waste migrate directly into the environment, and  less than 2% of polymeric waste is collected and reused in high-value applications.  A key obstacle to effective recycling is the vast number of formulations—each tailored to address a particular type of application—which is key to commercial success of polymers but creates a near-impossible separation problem during mechanical recycling and renders current approaches to chemical recycling inefficient.

We are proposing to address this problem by creating a convergent academic center focused on the circular economy of synthetic polymers. This center will tightly integrate the science and engineering of plastics recycling (via a novel approach to chemical recycling of polyolefins using liquid metal catalysts and the a priori design of recyclable thermoset plastics) into the framework of life cycle and techno-economic analyses, and law and governance assessments.  Towards this goal, the center will convene faculty from the Swanson School of Engineering, the Dietrich School or Arts & Sciences, and the Law School, with the required complementary expertise.

Efforts in year one will be focused on nucleating the collaborative efforts and producing initial results, which then will form the basis for convening a workshop at the start of year 2. This workshop will be used to scale up the effort by connecting to other US academics, industrial partners, and NSF and DOE program managers, in order to position ourselves for large center grants (e.g. NSF ERC, DOE EFRC), and create interest among potential industry sponsors (in particular members of the Alliance to End Global Plastic waste) to join and support this effort."


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Details

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Poster)
Status: Unpublished
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Beckman, Ericbeckman@pitt.edubeckman0000-0002-9958-3589
Bilec, Melissambilec@pitt.edumbilec
Khanna, Vikaskhannav@pitt.edukhannav
Veser, Gotzgveser@pitt.edugveser
Liu, Pengpengliu@pitt.edupengliu
Wildermuth, Amyamy.wildermuth@pitt.eduwildrmth
Galperin, Joshuajoshua.galperin@pitt.edujug52
Centers: Other Centers, Institutes, Offices, or Units > Office of Sponsored Research > Pitt Momentum Fund
Date: 2020
Event Title: Pitt Momentum Fund 2020
Event Type: Other
DOI or Unique Handle: 10.18117/ja8j-jj28
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Chemistry
School of Law > Law
Swanson School of Engineering > Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
Swanson School of Engineering > Civil and Environmental Engineering
Refereed: No
Date Deposited: 24 Feb 2020 16:55
Last Modified: 24 Feb 2020 18:13
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/38214

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