Published: Aug. 1, 2022
Katrina Knauer stands in a lab coat and is wearing plastic gloves

Seminar: Plastic Deconstruction, Upcycling, and Redesign in the BOTTLE Consortium

Speaker: Katrina Knauer, CTO of the BOTTLE Consortium,
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)

Host: Tim White

Seminar Abstract
The plastic pollution crisis is also an energy crisis with an estimated 20 percent of fossil fuel consumption going towards plastic production by the year 2050. Current polymerization processes do not offer much potential for efficiency improvements and energy demand reduction. Additionally, only mechanical recycling is employed at scale, which has limited life cycles due to contamination and degradation of the polymer. Thus, the most promising decarbonization options for the U.S. plastic industry involve system-wide changes and the integration of a bio-/waste-based supply chain with a plastic-to-plastic circular economy loop based on innovative recycling techniques to recover the plastic waste. The Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE™) Consortium is a U.S. Department of Energy multi-organization research consortium focused on developing new chemical upcycling strategies for today's plastics and redesigning tomorrow's plastics to be recyclable-by-design (RBD). This talk will highlight flagship BOTTLE technologies in low-energy plastic deconstruction, upcycling strategies for the waste intermediates, and promising RBD polymers that may challenge the current plastic industry.

Kat Knauer is a polymer scientist who has dedicated her scientific career to solving the plastic waste problem. She has a PhD in polymer science and engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi and completed the BASF PhD Leadership Development Program (LDP) in 2018 before taking a senior scientist role in BASF’s plastics division. Her research efforts focused on advanced recycling technologies which ultimately led her to leading materials innovation R&D at Novoloop (formerly BioCellection), a San Francisco Bay area chemical recycling startup. Recently, Knauer joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as the chief technology officer of the Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) Consortium where she is developing sustainable technologies to chemically upcycle today’s existing plastic waste streams and develop new plastics for the future that are inherently recyclable by design.


If you go

Who: Everyone welcome

What: Katrina Knauer, CTO of the BOTTLE Consortium, National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); Patten Seminar Series

When: Oct. 11, 2022, 2:45- 3:45 p.m

Where: JSCBB A108

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