CPI will bring together researchers from UD, University of Chicago, University of Massachusetts Amherst, University of Pennsylvania and Oak Ridge National Laboratory to chemically recycle plastic waste into fuels, lubricants and other valuable products in an energy-efficient manner.
The center is led by LaShanda Korley, a UD professor of materials science and engineering and chemical and biomolecular engineering. Thomas Epps III, a UD professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, will serve as co-director.
"We have a unique skill set at Delaware, with strengths in catalysis, polymer science, computational design, synthetic biology and machine learning," Korley said in a news release. "Our collaborators and partners bring great expertise in computational materials science and enzymatic catalysis, and also contribute characterization and computational facilities critical to advancing this work."
The team will use chemical catalysts and selective enzymes to depolymerize waste plastics and recover pure material for making fuels and lubricants at low temperature.
UD researchers from multiple departments will be involved — materials science and engineering, chemical and biomolecular engineering, chemistry and biochemistry, and electrical and computer engineering — as well as the Delaware Energy Institute.
"This center brings together a highly collaborative and multifaceted team in order to provide transformative solutions to a critical problem impacting the environment," Epps said.