CSP receives $20 million grant to pioneer next generation plastics

The Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) at the University of Minnesota has been awarded a $20 million grant to innovate next-generation plastics and materials. The CSP is directed by Professor Marc Hillmyer and consists of top research groups at the University of Minnesota, University of California – Berkeley, Cornell University, and University of Waterloo. In the Department of Chemistry, investigators include Marc Hillmyer, Theresa Reineke, William Tolman, Christopher Cramer, and Jane Wissinger. In the Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, investigators include Frank Bates, Christopher Macosko, and Kechun Zhang.

A major thrust of the Reineke group is to develop sustainable polymers and biomaterials to exhibit low toxicity while being biodegradable. To date, group members working with the CSP include James Gallagher, Leon Lillie, Jie Ma, Mammad Nasiri, and Lidia Swanson. Additionally, Dr. William Shearouse also worked on the development of polymers from sustainable feedstocks.

From the Department of Chemistry Website:

The University of Minnesota’s (UMN) Center for Sustainable Polymers (CSP) was awarded a Phase II Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI) grant from the National Science Foundation, totaling $20 million over five years. This new award will result in significant expansion and enhancement of CSP activities centered on the mission of transforming how plastics are made and unmade through innovative research, engaging education, and diverse partnerships that together foster environmental stewardship.

Under the direction of Marc Hillmyer, a Distinguished McKnight University Professor in the UMN’s Department of Chemistry, the multi-disciplinary and collaborative CSP was initiated in 2009 with start-up funding from the university. In 2011, the CSP was awarded a Phase I CCI grant, totaling $1.5 million over three years. The Phase II award makes the Center for Sustainable Polymers, the newest of eight Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) in the United States.

“The Center for Sustainable Polymers will play a key role in establishing the basic knowledge needed to reduce the nation’s reliance on finite feedstocks by developing environmentally friendly, cost-effective plastics from natural, sustainable and renewable materials,” said Tanja Pietrass, acting division director of the National Science Foundation Division of Chemistry. “This work will contribute to the growing U.S. bio-based polymer market, projected to value $7 billion by 2018,” she said.

Image from the Center for Sustainable Polymers.