In the wake of the massive shale gas boom, another boom is following, in the chemical industry. The explosion in domestic fracking is causing not only an increase in fossil fuel production—not to mention a host of environmental concerns—but also a new day for the petrochemical and polymer industry. And for at least one Texas university, that’s translating into big foundation dollars to expand polymer chemistry research.
Scientists have a solid understanding of the route carbon takes through our atmosphere and Earth's crust, as well as its importance as a building block of life. But how much carbon exists in the Earth's interior? The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation hopes its support for a team at the University of California-Davis will help answer questions like this.
The Sloan Foundation has dedicated $1.5 million over two years for the project, which is led by chemistry professor Giulia Galli. The grant came as part of the Sloan Foundation's Deep Carbon Observatory, a program that supports basic scientific research aimed at expanding our understanding of carbon and the role it plays in the deep reaches of Earth.