We talk with Dr. George Huber, Richard Antoine Professor of Chemical Engineering at the University of Wisconsin- Madison and the director of Center for Upcycling Waste Plastics (CUWP) about his research in recycling plastics. His technology offers a solution to filtrate the polymer from different plastics by applying solvents solvents. Though multi-layer plastics are more complicated his technology, solvent-targeted recovery and precipitation (STRAP), is able to use thermodynamics and solvents to disintegrate them into their constituent resins. It’s a fascinating process – the key is to capture 99% of the polymer and make sure nothing is release into the atmosphere. With consumption of plastics showing no signs of abating, it is crucial to recycle efficiently to reduce the consumption of new plastics. CUWP consists of six universities, over ten industrial partners, one national laboratory, and one industry association. They also share with scientists, engineers, policy makers, business leaders, and the general public to help them make informed decisions about the costs and benefits of new technologies for plastic recycling. Learn all this and more from Dr. George Huber.
Art by Xin Zou, University of Wisconsin-Madison for Hochan Chang, Min Soo Kim, George W Huber, James A Dumesic, Design of closed-loop recycling production of a Diels Alder polymer from a biomass-derived difuran as a functional additive for polyurethanes, Green Chemistry (2021) 23, 9479-9488.