Wenyu Huang, associate professor of chemistry and faculty scientist at Ames Lab, received the Trapp Innovation Award for his groundbreaking research that fosters the development of inventive catalytic systems. These processes involve catalysts—substances that trigger chemical reactions without altering the catalyst itself. Huang’s research could improve the efficiency of catalytic processes in renewable, energy-related sectors.
The promise of this research is far-reaching. Huang uses catalysts to develop a high-performance process which converts plastic waste into reusable products, such as fuels, solvents and lubricants. This innovative upcycling could significantly reduce the amount of plastic waste that pollutes our world’s oceans, lakes, rivers and landfills.