KU wins $4 million grant to work on making plastics more recyclable, more sustainable

KU researchers are working on ways to turn grasses or crop residue into plastics, as part of an effort to make plastic products more environmentally sustainable. And now, KU will have access to a $4 million federal grant to conduct the research.

The National Science Foundation awarded a $4 million grant to a group of KU and Delaware researchers, who will focus on improving how plastics are manufactured and recycled.

Bala Subramaniam director of KU’s Center for Environmentally Beneficial Catalysis, will serve as the lead investigator on the project. The project will study how crops and other agricultural products could be used to make plastics, a technique that could be a boon for Kansas’ rural economy. It also will look at ways to better “deconstruct used plastic to turn it into the building blocks for new plastics,” according to the KU release.

In addition to the research at KU, the project will involve work at Pittsburg State’s Kansas Polymer Research Center and at the University of Delaware. In addition to Subramaniam, other KU researchers involved in the project include Donna Ginther, director of KU’s Institute for Policy & Social Research, and Alan Allgeier, an associate professor of chemical and petroleum engineering.


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