Avondlezing door prof.dr. Gadi Rotherberg, georganiseerd door de Rotterdamsche Chemische Kring.
How often do you invent something that can truly change people’s lives and make the world a better place? We’ve been working on catalyst discovery and development for bulk chemicals and sustainable energy for over a decade, and we found a few nice things, but nothing truly spectacular. And then, in 2010, we discovered by accident a new type of biodegradable polymer made from 100% plant-based materials. It would be nice to say that this involved years of study and preparation, but in fact we were very lucky.
This new plastic is non-toxic, non-hazardous, and cheap enough to replace polyurethane and in some cases polypropylene and PET. We are now scaling up its manufacturing and finding a host of new and exciting things. In the lecture, I will tell you how we discovered this plastic, and discuss the pros and cons of making chemicals and polymers from biomass.
Gadi Rothenberg is Professor and Chair of Heterogeneous Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry at the University of Amsterdam. Rothenberg teaches courses on catalysis and workshops on scientific writing and innovation. He has published three books and 217 papers in peer-reviewed journals, invented 16 patents and co-founded the companies Sorbisense, Yellow Diesel and Plantics. His current research interests include clean energy, biomass conversion, and creating value from waste. Since 2020 he is also the Technical Director CO2 and Circular Economy at the Shanghai Institute for Cleantech Innovation.