Skip to Content

College of Arts and Sciences

  • hands with plastics bottles

    Imagine a world without plastic waste

    We’re conducting research to invent cleaner, sustainable materials to replace plastic.

The NSF Center for Polymers for a Circular Economy (PCE)

The NSF Center for Polymers for a Circular Economy aims to develop new ways to make polymers from inexpensive starting materials — carbon dioxide, biomass residues from agriculture and forestry, and oils from food waste. The ultimate mission is to achieve true polymer circularity with materials that can always be recycled.

PCE is led by the University of South Carolina, in close collaboration with Stanford University, University of Chicago, Mississippi State University and Clemson University.

About the Researchers

Professor Chuanbing Tang at University of South Carolina is the director of this NSF Center and USC’s SmartState endowed chair in polymers. He has established an exciting and creative research program on transforming diverse biomass into sustainable intermediates, monomers and polymers. This research area is highly important because it lays the foundation for the development of sustainable plastics for the next century of polymer science. His most notable contribution lies in his innovative designs of macromolecular structures and compositions that significantly enhance the thermal and mechanical properties of bioplastics.

  • Professor Matthew Kanan is the Director of the TomKat Center for Sustainable Energy at Stanford. He is a renowned leader in converting CO2 to chemicals and monomers, and on the development of CO2-derived polyamides.
  • Professor Guangbin Dong at University of Chicago is an ACS Cope Scholar and widely recognized for his pioneer work on catalysis. His work on lignocellulose and plant oils will lead to new catalytic processes towards sustainable monomers.
  • Professor Colleen Scott is an accomplished polymer chemist at Mississippi State University working on degradable polymers. She was recently promoted to associate professor with tenure. She is an NSF career awardee.
  • Professor Olga Kuksenok is a computational scientist at Clemson University and an expert in theoretical and computational modeling of polymers at multiple length scales.
  • Prof. Christine Lotter is a science education expert at the College of Education of the University of South Carolina. She will be an advisor for the education and outreach activities.

PCE is funded by the National Science Foundation’s Centers for Chemical Innovation (CCI) Program via a Phase I award (CHE‐2317582).

  • photo of a man with blue and white striped shirt on and glasses

    Dr. Chuanbing Tang

    University of South Carolina, Director

  • photo of a man in a blue suit jacket over a buttoned up shirt

    Dr. Matthew Kanan

    Stanford University, Senior Investigator

  • photo of a man with glasses and white shirt on with tie

    Dr. Guangbin Dong

    University of Chicago, Senior Investigator

  • photo of a woman with black hair and black suit on

    Dr. Colleen Scott

    Mississippi State University, Senior Investigator

  • photo of a woman with dark blond hair and blue suit

    Dr. Olga Kuksenok

    Clemson University, Senior Investigator

  • photo of a woman with dark brown hair and colorful sweater on

    Dr. Christine Lotter

    University of South Carolina, Consultant for Science Education

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.