PNNL Lecture Series: Catalytic Conversion of Polyolefines to Alkylaromatics

November 20, 2020

PNNL Lecture Series: Catalytic Conversion of Polyolefines to Alkylaromatics

The Institute for Integrated Catalysis at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory is organizing a series of six lectures with the focus on understanding and advancing catalytic chemistry for the upcycling of plastics. This critical area has become one of the fastest-growing branches in catalytic research.

In this series, we will focus on a broad range of chemistries that will include activation of carbon-carbon, carbon-hydrogen, and carbon-heteroatoms bonds relevant to plastic deconstruction, and on the prospects for the synthesis of renewable, biodegradable plastics. The goal is to stimulate discussion among catalysis experts with different expertise and to broaden our community's understanding of scientific challenges associated with the upcycling of plastics.

We have an outstanding lineup of speakers who will outline their scientific strategy, present their research, and set their work into the broader context of this critical area. Each lecture (approximately 45 minutes) will be followed by an extended discussion (up to 30 minutes) to allow ample time for questions and to stimulate dialog among the participants. The planned timeframe for the lectures is from October 20 through November 23, 2020, with one lecture per week.

In this webinar, Susannah Scott, Duncan & Suzanne Mellichamp Academic Initiative Professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, will discuss how a successful circular plastics economy will depend on the ability to create value from commodity plastics in ways that mechanical recycling has not delivered. Chemical strategies to disassemble polymers must take into account thermodynamic and kinetic barriers, and target products of higher value. Scott will describe a strategy to obtain valuable alkylaromatics from polyethylene without the need for large inputs of energy or chemical resources, by coupling reactions that create and consume hydrogen.

Looking ahead:

November 9: Design of Catalytic Solvolysis Process for Selectively Deconstructing Waste Plastics

November 16: CO2-Assisted Activation and Upgrading of Light Alkanes

November 23: Carbo-chemicals in the Circular Economy