14 Dec 2012
December 14, 2012

2007 Presidential Green Chemistry Award

Kansas Polymer Research Center scientists honored with national award

Scientists with the Kansas Polymer Research Center at Pittsburg State University have been honored with a national award for their ground-breaking discoveries with environmentally friendly materials.

Four scientists with the KPRC were honored Tuesday in Washington, D.C., by the National Academy of Sciences. Cargill, Inc., the KPRC’s research partner, was presented with the 2007 Presidential Green Chemistry Challenge Award in the Designing Greener Chemicals category for the research performed by KPRC scientists Dr. Zoran Petrovic, Dr. Ivan Javni, Dr. Andrew Guo, and Ms. Alisa Zlatanic. The group is the only research institution in the state of Kansas to win this prestigious honor.

The award recognizes the KPRC scientists for the invention of the new family of BiOH Polyols. Derived from natural vegetable oils such as soybean oil, BiOH Polyols help manufacturers of flexible polyurethane (used to make products such as foam and plastic chairs) reduce the impact on the environment.

The award, which represents more than 10 years worth of work by the scientists, comes at a time of forward momentum for the KPRC group. This fall, they will move into the new $5.7 million Tyler Research Center south of the Veteran’s Memorial on the east end of the PSU campus. The center is scheduled to open in late September, and will house a trophy representing this award.

“I am incredibly proud of the world-class research being performed by our scientists at the Kansas Polymer Research Center and the benefits their discoveries provide for our industry partners,” said PSU President Dr. Tom Bryant, who attended the ceremony with Vice President for University Advancement Dr. Brad Hodson and KPRC Director Steve Robb. “The work they are doing is making our Earth a little greener and our technologies smarter. It is a wonderful honor for these scientists and for Pittsburg State University.”

Dr. Petrovic credits each of the scientists at KPRC for their work in achieving this award.

“This is great recognition for our group at PSU and what we’ve been doing here,” he said. “We were pleasantly surprised. This was not something that was achieved overnight.”

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—Pitt State—