Flinders synthetic chemistry researcher Dr Justin Chalker has been announced as an AMP Tomorrow Maker, providing him with a $44,800 grant to help the commercialisation of his polymer invention that transforms waste products into an effective environmental clean-up tool.
The Tomorrow Fund is an annual $1 million grants program offered by the AMP Foundation since 2014, supporting people from all fields aiming to make improvements in our society. Dr Chalker, who leads a Flinders University laboratory team that has developed an innovative polymer made from petroleum waste products capable of absorbing mercury and cleaning up oil spills, is one of 43 Tomorrow Fund grant recipients for 2018.
“Because the polymer’s building blocks – sulfur, a waste product from the petroleum industry, and used cooking oil – are very inexpensive, this technology has great potential to control toxic pollution worldwide, protecting the environment and human health,” says Dr Chalker.
Dr Chalker and his team are now working on a process to mass manufacture the new polymer, field test it and gain a better understanding of how it degrades. Meeting these milestones will pave the way for the commercialisation of this game-changing polymer.
A short profile and video on Dr Chalker and his work will be posted at ampstomorrowfund.com.au and on AMP’s YouTube channel in the Tomorrow Maker section.