How to turn carbon nanomaterials into sustainable fuel sources, TWU's Dr. Shane Durbach researches

Imagine if plastic waste were to be re-engineered into a resource, such as low-cost building materials, or hydrocarbon fuel.

This potential is what Associate Professor of Chemistry Dr. Shane Durbach has devoted much of his career as a chemist and researcher to exploring.

Dr. Durbach is researching ways to convert plastic waste – a worldwide source of air, soil, water and marine pollution – into something beneficial for the environment.

Looking at the environmental harm caused by plastic waste, Dr. Durbach sees both a problem and an opportunity. “It is necessary to either economically recycle plastic waste or to find alternative solutions to remove it from the environment,” he writes in a journal article. “Most importantly, the huge amounts of plastic waste generated can also be viewed as a potential hydrocarbon resource.”

Recently, Dr. Durbach’s research was highlighted in CCCU’s Advance Magazine. Trinity Western University is a recipient of the CCCU grant, Supporting Structures: Innovative Collaborations to Enhance STEM Research at CCCU Member Institutions. Dr. Durbach is a faculty recipient of the CCCU Supporting Structures grant.

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, Dr. Durbach achieved his PhD in Chemistry from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. His research interests lie in investigating various synthetic strategies for shaped carbon nanomaterials, and he is currently focussing on finding applications for nanomaterials in areas such as composites for low-cost building materials and other beneficial community related uses, and photocatalysis (e.g. through the conversion of carbon dioxide to fuels).
See Shane Durbach’s research highlighted in CCCU’s Advance Magazine Fall 2021.

See also — CCCU and Scholarship & Christianity in Oxford awards TWU $230,000 to advance STEM research:
TWU News

About Trinity Western University

Founded in 1962, Trinity Western University is Canada’s premier Christian liberal arts university dedicated to equipping students to establish meaningful connections between career, life, and the needs of the world. It is a fully accredited research institution offering liberal arts and sciences, as well as professional schools in business, nursing, education, human kinetics, graduate studies, and arts, media, and culture. It has four campuses: Langley, Richmond-Lansdowne, Richmond-Minoru, and Ottawa. TWU emphasizes academic excellence, research, and student engagement in a vital faith community committed to forming leaders to have a transformational impact on culture. Learn more at or follow us on Twitter @TrinityWestern, on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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Photo from Unsplash.


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