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COSM-2021-Jim-Tour-graphene
Jim Tour at COSM 2021 on our zero carbon future

Flash Graphene: Born Again Plastic Is Planet-Friendly

Chemist James Tour outlined a new approach to carbon waste at COSM 2021: Use electricity to turn it into graphene, to be recycled as new materials

Remember that mindblowing scene in Back to the Future II where Doc Brown shows up in his flying Delorean and throws trash into the “Mr. Fusion” unit in the back — and it’s instantly converted into fuel? We aren’t quite there yet. But if what Rice University synthetic chemist James Tour told COSM 2021 proves right, then we can take current trash — e-waste, food waste, useless wood, discarded plastic, old tires, etc. — and reclaim it at low cost to make materials that we can incorporate into many technologies. Tour and his team have developed methods for turning carbon waste into graphene, an allotrope of carbon that can be stacked to form graphite (best known as the “lead” in…