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News and Highlights

From the Chemistry Department

Center for Sustainable Separations of Metals Established

The National Science Foundation has awarded a $1.8M grant to establish the Center for Sustainable Separations of Metals (CSSM), which will be led by chemists from The University of Pennsylvania and involve collaboration with UT Austin professor Jonathan Sessler. With support from NSF’s Centers for Chemical Innovation Program, the Center, one of three funded this year, will focus on scientific challenges related to metals recycling and sustainability. 

The Center seeks to address the overlapping challenges of maintaining supplies of limited resources and recovering these materials from consumer waste. A particular focus will be on capturing and recycling lithium and expensive transition metals from spent lithium batteries. The Sessler group will work to develop polymer-supported receptor systems suitable for capturing lithium from batteries and will seek to generalize the strategies such that they can be applied to other value added metals present in these and other difficult-to-recycle materials. $205,000 of the grant will come to UT.

Professor Sessler says, "I am very excited to be working with some of the best experimentalists and theorists in our country to tackle the problem of metal recovery from post-consumer waste and recycling streams.” The advantage of the Center is that it will provide for synergy across a number of groups such that the problems of capturing precious species from discarded batteries and electronics can be tackled efficiently and in a holistic fashion.

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