UK Hub Aims to Rethink, Reformulate Chemical Production

May 17, 2024
The Hub seeks to ensure that the UK remains at the forefront of sustainable chemical manufacturing.

The University of Oxford is spearheading a major UK government investment in research to enhance the sustainability of chemical and polymer production. The Sustainable Chemicals and Materials Manufacturing Hub (SCHEMA) will bring together researchers from across the UK, collaborating with a large consortium of commercial, technology translation and civic partners. The Hub has received £11 million ($13.97 million) from the UKRI Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and an additional £22 million ($27.94 million) from its partners, according to a May 16 news release.

The research focuses on transforming the way chemicals and polymers are designed, manufactured and recycled. Key areas include transitioning away from virgin petrochemicals; redesigning processes and materials to increase recycling rates; producing chemicals and polymers from renewable sources such as biomass, carbon dioxide, and industrial wastes; and integrating renewable energy into the process engineering. The research teams will work across sustainable chemistry, process engineering, polymer materials science and digital technologies, leveraging computational and information technology advancements to design future materials that are both functional and fully sustainable, incorporating circular economy and end-of-life management principles.

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