Graduate student in chemistry, Dong Jin, is one of several researchers at Brown and Yale to demonstrate a new “enabling technology” that could use excess carbon dioxide to produce acrylate, a valuable commodity chemical involved in the manufacture of everything from polyester cloth to disposable diapers. Chemical companies churn out billions of tons of acrylate each year, usually by heating propylene, a compound derived from crude oil. Jin is working with Wesley Bernskoetter, assistant professor of chemistry, to enhance both the economics and the sustainability of how acrylate is made.
“Right now, everything that goes into making it is from relatively expensive, nonrenewable carbon sources,” said Bernskoetter.
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