Sustainable Polymers Tech Hub

Tech Hubs Official Designee Badge

Lead Agency: Greater Akron Chamber  

State Served: Ohio

Applicant-Defined Region: Akron MSA

Core Technology Area: sustainable polymers

Contact: Brian Anderson (

Media Contact: Halee Gerenday (

The Sustainable Polymers Tech Hub, led by the Greater Akron Chamber, aims to tackle the severe climate and environmental impacts resulting from the use of fossil fuel-derived polymers (rubbers and plastics) through accelerating sustainable polymer manufacturing and commercialization in the United States. Polymers have played an important role in American innovation ranging from the development of medical devices to our nation’s infrastructure, however, their production has resulted in challenges, such as greenhouse gas emissions and plastic pollution. This Tech Hub is seeking to leverage its regional assets, such as the largest concentration of plastics and rubber manufacturing plants, machines, and materials in North America, as well as regional R&D partnerships and an inclusive regional workforce, to establish global leadership in sustainable plastic and rubber technology that has reduced emissions and is recyclable, biodegradable, and non-toxic.

The Sustainable Polymers Tech Hub seeks to move the global decarbonization needle through American innovation, fortify critical supply chains, and create equitable economic growth by building on Akron’s historic capabilities in polymers to bring new polymer technologies to market that reduce fossil fuel consumption and advance carbon neutrality.

This consortium’s proposal includes plans to:

  • Expand a polymer-focused startup accelerator and capitalization program to support and serve startups in the polymer industry;
  • Build new sustainability and polymer lifecycle management workforce development programming through an initiative with higher education institutional partners;
  • Scale up production of bio-based butadiene in an effort to reduce greenhouse gases and impact synthetic rubber supply chains on a global scale;
  • Increase pilot scale testing and validation of advanced carbon nanotube reinforced products to address critical U.S. supply chain vulnerabilities;
  • Scale up a liquid phase mixing process to achieve better composite uniformity for emerging materials;
  • Develop a more environmentally safe anti-degradant for the production of tires, rubber products, and plastics;
  • Commercialize the recycling of end-of-life tires by scaling up processes to recover and re-use functional polymers from discarded scrap tire waste products; and
  • Augment policies and protocols concerning risk mitigation, evaluation, and open innovation capabilities to accelerate growth and foster open innovation.

To ensure that the impacts of the Tech Hub projects benefit the entire region, the consortium is committed to facilitating active community engagement and ensuring that equity-focused strategies are embedded and coordinated across the enterprise.

This summary is based on information submitted by the applicants. If selected for funding, the final EDA-approved scope of work may differ.

Strategy Development Grant Amount: $399,672

Designee Narrative (PDF)

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Additional Designations Earned in Region

Build Back Better Regional Challenge Badge Finalist
Good Jobs Challenge Awardee Badge
NSF Engine Development Award Badge