Flyer: Prof. Mahdi Abu-Omar Flyer
Meet the Speaker: 11 a.m., YH 3096
Title: Bifunctional catalysis for upcycling of polyethylene to alkylaromatics
Abstract: The current scale of plastics production (nearing 400 million tons per year) and the accompanying waste disposal problems represent a largely untapped opportunity for chemical upcycling. Tandem catalytic conversion by platinum supported on γ-alumina converts various polyethylene grades in high yields to liquid alkyl aromatics in the absence of added solvent or molecular hydrogen. These molecules can be used as biodegradable detergents. Coupling exothermic hydrogenolysis with endothermic aromatization renders the overall process thermodynamically accessible despite moderate reaction temperature. The UCSB upcycling process demonstrates how waste polyolefins can be a viable feedstock for the generation of useful and value-added molecules.