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The Precourt Institute for Energy is now part of the Stanford Doerr School of Sustainability.


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Four percent of the world’s fossil fuel use goes toward making plastics, resulting in a similar percentage of global greenhouse gas emissions. Most used plastic is not recycled but dumped in landfills and oceans, or incinerated, which emits multiple air-born toxins. One Stanford research team seeks to establish the missing link between bond dynamics and macroscopic properties of a new class of plastics consisting of dynamic polymer networks. The bonds of DPN plastics are reversible, which can enable their recycling and upcycling, and reduce waste generation. Multiple faculty members lead work on producing plastics from captured CO2 and renewable hydrogen instead of from natural gas and oil byproducts. Others are exploring mealworms that can consume toxic plastics and working on making the compostable bioplastics from organic waste.