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Tulane awarded $1.5 million Dept. of Energy grant

March 2, 2015

Barri Bronston
Phone: 504-314-7444
bbronst@tulane.edu

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Tulane physics professor Wayne Reed (Photo by Paula Burch-Celentano)

The U.S. Department of Energy has awarded Tulane University physics professor Wayne Reed a $1.5 million grant to help find the most efficient way to produce polymers, the chemical compounds that are used to make everything from building materials in spacecraft to laptops and medicines.  

“This grant focuses on developing the necessary hardware and software tools needed for fully automated polymer manufacturing,” said Reed, who oversees the project and is founding director of the Tulane Center for Polymer Reaction Monitoring and Characterization (PolyRMC).

“The long-term goal is commercialization of this technology. Such automation does not yet exist in the industry,” Reed said.

Fully automated polymer manufacturing will allow for the most efficient production of polymers to exact quality specifications.

It will also lead to more efficient use of energy, non-renewable resources and plant and labor time, while reducing emissions and enhancing economic stability and job prospects in the $1.2 trillion-a-year polymer industry.

The grant also forms the Louisiana Sustainable Chemical Manufacturing Consortium, with Tulane as lead. The consortium includes Nalco Co., LSU professor José Romagnoli’s process modeling and control team, the Louisiana Chemical Association and Advanced Polymer Monitoring Technologies, Inc. (APMT).

APMT, a Tulane spin-off company, provides online monitoring solutions for polymer producers seeking to optimize manufacturing processes and product quality.

APMT has created seven full-time, high-tech jobs along with part-time jobs and internships. It has developed partnerships with several companies and is also working on technology to monitor stability of biologic drugs in the pharmaceutical industry

APMT is actively commercializing Automatic Continuous Online Monitoring of Polymerization, ACOMP, which was developed at Tulane and is widely applicable for monitoring and potentially controlling polymerization reactions.


 

Tulane University, New Orleans, LA 70118 504-865-5000 website@tulane.edu