N.C. A&T, Chemours Establish Partnership to Enhance Research Opportunities for Faculty, Students

By Jamie Crockett / 04/28/2022 Research and Economic Development, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, College of Engineering, College of Science and Technology, Joint School of Nanoscience & Nanoengineering

EAST GREENSBORO, N.C. (April 28, 2022) – North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University and The Chemours Company have agreed to partner over the next three years to enhance research, educational and coaching opportunities for faculty and graduate students in areas related to chemistry and chemical engineering.

The company will provide funding for faculty-led research proposals that are of mutual interest and are collaboratively selected following the university’s annual request for proposals. The funding will also support at least one graduate student for each project, and the research team will have access to coaching from Chemours’ scientists and engineers. Additionally, A&T and Chemours have agreed to pursue extramural funding, which could support the establishment of a center of excellence in water treatment, among other initiatives.

“N.C. A&T is known for producing strong STEM graduates from richly diverse backgrounds. We’re excited to work with Chemours on challenging new technical programs that will drive research with the potential to benefit people everywhere,” said Eric Muth, Ph.D., vice chancellor of research and economic development. “Working alongside our distinguished faculty, our students will also benefit from interaction and mentoring from Chemours’ leading scientists. We look forward to bringing new opportunities to advance our research and academic programming consistent with our land-grant mission.”

This partnership builds upon Chemours’ previous scholarship support of A&T students and the company’s 2030 Corporate Responsibility Commitment goals which include a commitment to reduce process emissions of fluorinated organic chemicals by 99% or more.

“Chemours is a company focused on innovation and sustainable solutions, with a bedrock commitment to responsible manufacturing. We’re excited to partner with a premier institution like N.C. A&T to help advance new research to meet the world’s demands now and in the days to come,” said Chemours Vice President of Technology Randal King. “N.C. A&T’s students represent the future of chemistry, and we’ve been fortunate to fund scholarships for several students attending the university through our Future of Chemistry Scholarship program and the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative. This agreement is a natural next step in our relationship, and we look forward to deepening our partnership with N.C. A&T and engaging with their faculty and students.”

North Carolina A&T is uniquely positioned to contribute to this partnership and the goal of driving new science in water treatment as it is home to leading experts in multiple disciplines across campus whose research interests explore and address PFAS or other environmental challenges.

For example, the research of Dongyang “Sunny” Deng, Ph.D., an associate professor in the Department of Built Environment in the College of Science and Technology, includes a focus on “physical, chemical and biological wastewater treatment technology development and chemical spill and fate in the environment.”

Deng previously received the Outstanding Young Investigator award during a university celebration of faculty excellence event. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also invited her to review “an emerging contaminant proposal regarding PFAS in agricultural wastewater.”

Renzun Zhao, Ph.D., an assistant professor of environmental engineering in the College of Engineering, has research goals to “promote environmental sustainability, by understanding the complex water-energy interrelationship and mitigating the environmental impacts by industrial activities, with emphasis on water/wastewater and solid/hazardous waste.”

Additionally, Zhao was a mentor for civil engineering undergraduate student Myles Greer for his project selected for Virginia Tech’s 2021 Nanotechnology Entrepreneurship Challenge project, which focused on repurposing coal fly ash on a nanoscale.

Zhao recently received an Environmental Enhancement Grant from N.C. Attorney General Josh Stein to lead a project which will partly focus on characterizing, measuring the amount of and removing dissolved organic nitrogen found in liquid waste generated from landfills in eastern North Carolina.

Niroj Aryal, Ph.D., an assistant professor in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences (CAES), focuses partly on emerging pollutants, watershed and stormwater management. He and other CAES colleagues recently published “A Review on Constructed Treatment Wetlands for Removal of Pollutants in the Agricultural Runoff” in Sustainability.

Finally, EPA Administrator Michael S. Regan, who graduated from CAES with a B.S. in earth and environmental science, announced last fall the agency’s roadmap to address PFAS contamination as well as implementing a new testing strategy for PFAS manufacturers nationwide.

About The Chemours Company
The Chemours Company (NYSE: CC) is a global leader in Titanium Technologies, Thermal & Specialized Solutions, and Advanced Performance Materials providing its customers with solutions in a wide range of industries with market-defining products, application expertise and chemistry-based innovations. We deliver customized solutions with a wide range of industrial and specialty chemicals products for markets, including coatings, plastics, refrigeration and air conditioning, transportation, semiconductor and consumer electronics, general industrial, and oil and gas. Our flagship products include prominent brands such as Ti-Pure™, Opteon™, Freon™, Teflon™, Viton™, Nafion™, and Krytox™.  The company has approximately 6,400 employees and 29 manufacturing sites serving approximately 3,200 customers in approximately 120 countries. Chemours is headquartered in Wilmington, Delaware and is listed on the NYSE under the symbol CC. For information, we invite you to visit chemours.com or follow us on Twitter @Chemours or LinkedIn.

Media Contact Information: Jackie Torok, jtorok@ncat.edu

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