Green chemistry center grows up, reaches out

Science pub nights like this one help bring sustainable chemistry to the masses.
Courtesy of Oregon State University

Science pub nights like this one help bring sustainable chemistry to the masses.

Oregon is at the center of a federally funded push to eliminate waste generated in the manufacturer of semiconductor chips.

Technology developed by a network of researchers at the University of Oregon, Oregon State University and others promises to cut the waste resulting from one step in the chip-making process.

The research promises to revolutionize a critical Northwest industry and already has led to the creation of one startup in Corvallis.

The green chemistry push, not coincidentally, is helping fill area brewpubs on weeknights as well.

First, a little history.

In September, the National Science Foundation awarded a five-year, $20 million grant to the OSU-UO Center for Sustainable Materials Chemistry to collaborate with researchers across the country, train those researchers in the art of business and promote scientific inquiry to the public.

Douglas Keszler, a chemist at Oregon State University and adjunct professor at UO, formed the center with an initial $1.5 million.

More from the 2012 SBO cleantech report:

Top 10 cleantech leaders to watch
EV Project: Slower than projected, but alive and well
Oregon’s electric vehicle cluster rethinks its image
Keeping wind turbines turning leads to growth
Guest blog: Cooperative innovation key to breakthroughs

The follow-up grant expanded the center by a factor of six, bringing together investigators and students to collaborate on projects they couldn’t tackle in a single lab.

The project includes researchers from the Department of Energy’s national laboratory system, Washington University in St. Louis, Rutgers University, University of California Davis and UC Berkeley, and the University of Victoria in British Columbia.

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