Katrina Knauer, Ph.D.
Speaker's Institution
National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)
Chemistry A101
Mixer Time
Mixer Time
Calendar (ICS) Event
Additional Information

Seminar organized by ACS POLY/PMSE Student Chapter

About the Seminar

The plastic pollution crisis is also an energy crisis with an estimated 20% of fossil fuel consumption going towards plastic production by the year 2050. Current polymerization processes do not offer much potential for efficiency improvements and energy demand reduction. Additionally, only mechanical recycling is employed at scale, which has limited life cycles due to contamination and degradation of the polymer. Thus, the most promising decarbonization options for the U.S. plastic industry involve system-wide changes and the integration of a bio-/waste-based supply chain with a plastic-to-plastic circular economy loop based on innovative recycling techniques to recover the plastic waste. The Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE™) Consortium is a U.S. Department of Energy multi-organization consortium focused on developing new chemical upcycling strategies for today’s plastics and redesigning tomorrow’s plastics to be recyclable-by-design (RBD). This talk will highlight flagship BOTTLE technologies in low-energy plastic deconstruction, upcycling strategies for the waste intermediates, and promising RBD polymers that may challenge the current plastic industry.

About the Speaker

Kat Knauer is a polymer scientist who has dedicated her scientific career to solving the plastic waste problem. She has a PhD in polymer science and engineering from the University of Southern Mississippi and completed the BASF PhD Leadership Development Program (LDP) in 2018 before taking a senior scientist role in BASF’s plastics division. Her research efforts focused on advanced recycling technologies which ultimately led her to leading materials innovation R&D at Novoloop (formerly BioCellection), a San Francisco Bay area chemical recycling startup. Recently, Knauer joined the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) as the chief technology officer of the Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) Consortium where she is developing sustainable technologies to chemically upcycle today’s existing plastic waste streams and develop new plastics for the future that are inherently recyclable by design.