|Credit: University of Kansas Center for Research Inc.|
The project's interdisciplinary focus is to develop novel catalysts by combining materials synthesis with structure property relationships. Researchers will explore the fundamental catalytic mechanisms that impact the controlled reconstruction of biomass feedstocks to make renewable chemicals, fuels, plastics and other targeted products. Specifically, they will address the challenge, "How do you reconstruct naturally occurring liginin, [a complex organic polymer found in plants], to make petrochemical-equivalent chemicals instead of burning it?”
Bala Subramaniam, the director of the University of Kansas Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis (CEBC) and the Dan F. Servey Distinguished Professor in the Department of Chemical & Petroleum Engineering is the lead researcher from Kansas, and John Regalbuto, a professor in the University of South Carolina's Department of Chemical Engineering, is the lead research from South Carolina.
In addition to the cutting edge science, the grant provides unique educational and collaborative initiatives such as a mentoring program for young, early career professors; the development of a student engaging curriculum at both universities; and, the establishment of across-disciplines and industry partnerships.
To read more about this NSF EPSCoR Award go to: New NSF grant gives early-career faculty competitive edge