Mar 31, 2022
Professor Paula Diaconescu

Professor Paula Diaconescu has been awarded an American Chemical Society Green Chemistry Institute (ACS GCI) Oilfield Chemistry Roundtable Grant.

An inorganic chemist at UCLA since 2005, Professor Paula Diaconescu's research group focuses on the design of reactive metal complexes with applications to small molecule activation, organic synthesis, and polymer formation. Diaconescu is the director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Center for Integrated Catalysis (CIC). The CIC aims to design a chemical system where simple building blocks can be added to one flask with many catalysts to perform diverse reactions and produce many different and useful polymers, including complex and biodegradable plastics.

From ACS Network Community Online (by Christiana Briddell):

Prof. Diaconescu Awarded ACS GCI Oilfield Chemistry Roundtable Grant

Acrylamide-based polymers are the most common friction reducer used in hydraulic fracturing. In a horizontal well, friction reducers, such as polyacrylamides, reduce the energy and pressure required to pump and increase the productivity of a well. After sand and water, friction-reducers are the largest additive by volume to fracturing fluid. Existing alternatives to polyacrylamides are limited.

Seeking to identify sustainable alternatives to polyacrylamide materials, the ACS Green Chemistry Institute Oilfield Chemistry Roundtable (OCR) has awarded a $50,000 research grant to Prof. Paula Diaconescu, of the Chemistry & Biochemistry department at UCLA. Diaconescu’s research will explore incorporating biodegradable elements into a polyacrylamide structure. More specifically, the proposed research will replace the hydrocarbon-based backbone of polyacrylamides with biodegradable groups. The goal is to maintain the desirable friction-reducing ability of the material while altering its polymer backbone to facilitate biodegradation (Figure 1).

In addition to the research grant, the OCR is organizing a symposium at the upcoming 26th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering Conference entitled, “Drilling and Fracturing Fluid Water Reuse and Alternate Sourcing”. The session will discuss chemistry and chemical technology advances related to the reuse of drilling and hydraulic fracturing water. 

The OCR is a partnership between the ACS Green Chemistry Institute® and Oilfield Chemistry-related corporations united by a shared commitment to integrate the principles of green and sustainable chemistry and engineering into the business of oilfield development and production. Current members are BASF, Brenntag, CES Energy Solutions, International Flavor and Fragrances, Locus Bio-Energy Solutions, NexTier, Rockwater Energy Solutions, and SNF.


Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry,