The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced up to $25 million in funding for plastics recycling research and development. The funding opportunity announcement (FOA) is part of the department’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, a comprehensive program to accelerate innovations in plastics recycling technologies.
“The Trump administration is committed to advancing plastic recycling technologies and the manufacturing of new plastics that are recyclable by design,” said Under Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes in a statement. “Through the Plastics Innovation Challenge, DOE is proud to take part in the development of technologies and strategies to improve how we manage plastics within and beyond America’s borders.”
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 the improvement of 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 that 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 April 22 and full applications are due on June 18.
Both the BOTTLE FOA and Consortia support DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, which draws on the extensive research capabilities within the DOE National Laboratories, universities and industry to position the U.S. as the world leader in advanced plastic recycling technologies.