Change Agent: Aaron Sadow, finding the chemistry to add value, utility to plastic waste

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Ames Laboratory Scientist and iCOUP Director Aaron Sadow was recently featured in Iowa State University's Change Agent Series, which features faculty and scientists whose work is changing the world for the better. 

"Could there be a way to upcycle plastic into something more valuable? Or is that idea nothing but unicorns and alchemy?

Sadow and his colleagues are going to find out. With the support of a four-year, $12.8 million grant from the energy department’s program to establish Energy Frontier Research Centers, they’re building a multi-member Institute for Cooperative Upcycling of Plastics (iCOUP) based at the Ames Laboratory.

It’s important work happening in iCOUP’s labs – important for science, certainly, but also essential for the world.

'Plastic waste is a national and international issue, with consequences affecting energy, manufacturing, and transportation industries, our conservation of natural resources, and global environmental health,' said Adam Schwartz, the director of the Ames Laboratory. 'Aaron Sadow and his team are leading the charge to develop new technologies needed for efficient processing of plastics by advancing basic science, and then applying those innovative discoveries to recover, reuse, recycle, and repurpose used plastic materials.'"

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