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U.S. Department of Energy Announces $27 Million in Plastics Recycling Research and Development

Oliver Scroop

October 15, 2020

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced over $27 million in funding for 12 projects that will support the development of advanced plastics recycling technologies and new plastics that are recyclable-by-design. As part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, these projects will also help improve existing recycling processes that break plastics into chemical building blocks, which can then be used to make new products.

“The Trump Administration is committed to advancing innovation to position the U.S. as a global leader in advanced plastics recycling and upcycling technologies,” said Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “These new projects support that objective through the development of energy-efficient recycling technologies that will strengthen U.S. competitiveness and help reduce plastic waste in our environment for generations to come.”

The BOTTLE: Bio-Optimized Technologies to Keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment funding opportunity is jointly funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s (EERE) Bioenergy Technologies Office and Advanced Manufacturing Office. The projects are part of DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, which draws on the research capabilities of DOE National Laboratories, universities, and industry to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies.

The selected projects will address a variety of research and development areas, including:

Highly Recyclable or Biodegradable Plastics: Develop new plastics that have improved performance attributes over a comparable existing plastic and can be cost-effectively recycled or biodegrade completely in the environment or in compost facilities.

Novel Methods for Deconstructing and Upcycling Existing Plastics: Generate energy-efficient recycling technologies (mechanical, chemical, or biological) that are capable of breaking plastic streams into intermediates which can be upgraded into higher value products.

BOTTLE Consortium Collaborations to Tackle Challenges in Plastic Waste: Create collaborations with the BOTTLE Laboratory Consortium to further the long-term goals of the Consortium and the Plastics Innovation Challenge.

The following projects were selected under Topic 1a: Novel Bio-Based Plastics: Designing Highly Recyclable or Biodegradable Bio-Based Plastics:

The following projects were selected under Topic 1b: Novel Plastics: Designing Highly Recyclable or Biodegradable Plastics:

The following projects were selected under Topic 2: Novel Methods for Deconstructing and Upcycling Existing Plastics:

The following projects were selected under Topic 3: BOTTLE Consortium Collaborations to Tackle Challenges in Plastic Waste:

Learn more about DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Plastics Innovation Challenge.

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