KUTEM Seminar by Gökhan Çelik - Catalysis for Polymer Upcycling

Author: KUTEM
Time: 14:00



Speaker: Asst. Prof.Gökhan Çelik, Department of Chemical Engineering, Middle East Technical University

Title: Catalysis for Polymer Upcycling

Date: 24.04.2020

Time: 14:00-15:30


Meeting ID: 918 0543 2893

Password: KUTEM




Synthetic polymers are ubiquitous and critical to the function of modern life. However, the ubiquity of polymers has resulted in an enormous and growing amount of polymer waste, which has a long lifetime in the environment and is inefficient to recycle. Polymer waste is both a threat to the environment and economy, and an untapped resource of energy-rich hydrocarbons. If the large macromolecules that make polymers could be chemically transformed or "upcycled" into value-added chemicals, rather than disposed of as waste or downcycled into lower grade plastics, the energy and value put into the polymers could be reclaimed and turned into new applications. Here, we focused on developing efficient and innovative catalytic materials for converting waste polymers into more valuable products in a selective manner – catalytic upcycling. The selective catalytic conversion of waste polymers is achieved by the chemical control of catalytic activity at the nanoscale by designing supported metal catalysts with spatially organized sites. These sites cleave hydrocarbon polymers into relatively uniform fragments through interactions of the polymer macromolecules with the metal catalysts. The production of uniform fragments, rather than a random distribution, is the first step to efficiently converting waste polymers into new high-value hydrocarbon feedstocks.


Dr. Gokhan Celik is an assistant professor and TUBITAK 2232 fellow in Chemical Engineering Department at Middle East Technical University (METU). He received his B.S. and M.Sc. at METU and his Ph.D. at the Ohio State University, where his research focused on the development of stimulu-induced “smart” materials for catalytic treatment of water contaminated with chlorinated hydrocarbons. He then moved to the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Division of Argonne National Laboratory and conducted his postdoctoral research on upcycling of waste polyolefins and rational catalyst design for reactions involved in hydrocarbon processing. Gokhan is now establishing a research laboratory at METU to tackle the challenges in energy, environment, and resource by catalysis engineering and kinetics.