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DOE announces $25M for plastics recycling R&D, launches upcycling consortium

The US Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $25 million in funding for plastics recycling research and development (R&D). The funding opportunity announcement (DE-FOA-0002245) is part of the Department’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate innovations in plastics recycling technologies.

The Advanced Manufacturing Office and Bioenergy Technologies Office within the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy issued the joint FOA, titled “BOTTLE: Bio-Optimized Technologies to Keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment.”

With up to $25 million in funding, the BOTTLE FOA will support the development of new plastics that are capable of efficient recyclability and on improving recycling strategies that can break existing plastics into chemical building blocks that can be used to make higher-value products.

To further advance the Plastics Innovation Challenge, DOE also announced the launch of the new BOTTLE Consortium. The National Laboratory-led BOTTLE Consortium is focused on designing new plastics and recycling strategies, in collaboration with industry and academia. The BOTTLE Consortium currently consists of the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and Los Alamos National Laboratory.

FOA Topic Areas include:

  • 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 application process will include two phases: a concept paper and a full application. Concept papers are due on 22 April 2020, and full applications are due on 18 June 2020.


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