CenSURF: Improving the Sustainability of the Chemical Enterprise
The CenSURF Mission: To facilitate transformative research delivering the benefits of the chemical enterprise to society with minimal environmental impact and preserving resources for future generations.
Our Strategy: To develop a sustainable chemistry of carbon dioxide and of biomass as renewable feedstocks for the production of chemicals.
Research Foci: The Center for the Sustainable Use of Renewable Feedstocks (CenSURF) addresses the challenge of developing the renewable resources carbon dioxide and lignocellulosic biomass as alternative feedstocks to petrochemicals. Advancing such science and technology for their industrial utilization will be major milestones in sustainable chemistry. CenSURF researchers from UC Santa Barbara, UC San Diego, UC Davis and Washington University, St. Louis, are investigating:
- New strategies for electrochemical reduction of CO2 to ethylene and to other C2 compounds, using molecular and heterogeneous copper-based catalysts:
- The oxidative disassembly of the biopolymer lignin to aromatic monomers, using bio-inspired electrochemical redox mediators (with metal-based and organic redox shuttles), as well as the catalytic reductive disassembly of lignin and lignocellulose.
CenSURF's emphasis on developing heterogeneous, homogeneous and enzymatic catalysts based only on Earth-abundant elements will ensure that processes are scalable and will preserve precious metals and other rare elements for use by future generations.
Education and Outreach Goals: CenSURF is educating graduate and undergraduate students in the principles and practices of chemical sustainability, while providing an incubator for innovation. We are also developing educational and outreach materials that are disseminated through K-12 schools and to the general public.
Our Support: CenSURF is a Phase I NSF Center for Chemical Innovation (CCI), funded by the NSF Division of Chemistry (CHE) since September 2012.