Institute for Cooperative Catalysis in Upcycling of Polymers (iCOUP)

Project: Research project

Project Details


The mission of iCOUP, led by Ames Laboratory, is to uncover cooperative catalytic principles that enable chemical upcycling of energy-rich macromolecules and will be achieved through two overarching four-year goals: Goal I: Establish principles of cooperativity in catalytic solids operating beyond the binding site, and Goal II: Investigate methods for upcycling hydrocarbon polymers into valuable small molecules. The three hundred million tons of polymer plastics created and discarded annually consuming 6-8% of the crude oil and natural gas produced in the US is a tremendous untapped domestic resource for the production of chemicals and new materials. Tasks Northwestern University (NU) will be responsible for the hiring and supervision necessary post-doctoral associates along with partial support for two faculty members. The NU team uniquely integrates needed multi-disciplinary expertise brought together in this EFRC-level effort to develop cooperative catalysis and achieve polymer upcycling. These activities combine creation of patterned materials (Poeppelmeier), and theory to model multi-scale cooperativity mechanisms and polymer-surface interactions (Luijten). The NU team will work closely with the other team members with monthly, quarterly and annual meetings to set goals, project plans and to assess and analyze data. Members of the team will be expected to generate oral and written scientific articles and any required DOE reports (at least annually). Deliverables As deliverables, the University will present and contribute to oral and written scientific publications as well as reports describing the results of the iCOUP research. The NU Co-Investigators will take part in monthly group meetings and participate in yearly reviews organized by the lead institution and DOE.
Effective start/end date10/16/2012/31/24


  • Iowa State University, Ames Laboratory (SC-20-534 Mod 8 // DE-AC02-07CH11358)
  • Department of Energy (SC-20-534 Mod 8 // DE-AC02-07CH11358)


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