The REMADE Institute issued its third request for proposals (RFP) to develop transformational technologies to increase the recovery, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling of metals, polymers, fibers and e-waste.
REMADE said its investment will help solve some of the key technical challenges to deriving the energy, environmental and social benefits of a circular economy. The investment will support addressing knowledge gaps that can increase the recycling of plastics and increase the remanufacturing and reuse of products ranging from consumer electronics to high-performance engines. The institute also seeks education and workforce development content to support high-quality jobs in the economy and ensure that the workforce is trained to meet the changing needs of industry.
Variations in market dynamics have led to dramatic decreases in plastic recycling rates in the U.S. from 9.1 percent (2015) to 4.4 percent (2018), resulting in more plastic in landfills, incinerators, waste streams and the environment, including oceans. REMADE explained its investment will support the development of new recovery and recycling technology to reverse this trend and achieve the energy, environmental and social benefits associated with sustainable recycling of plastics.
By extending the useful life of products or components, remanufacturing provides a significant opportunity to increase energy efficiency, preserve material resources used and reduce the need for even more material and energy resources in U.S. manufacturing. Yet today, remanufacturing accounts for less than 2 percent intensity in sectors where remanufacturing is common.
Other examples of projects that REMADE will invest in include:
- Develop new manufacturing and recycling technologies to increase secondary feedstock use in manufacturing by 20 percent without loss of properties or performance.
- Develop cost-effective separation technologies that can more effectively and selectively separate and recover individual metals and plastics from e-waste with the purpose of increasing the current e-waste recycling rate by 30 percent.
- Create design alternatives that increase the recovery, recycling, reuse and remanufacturing of products at the end of their lifecycle.
- Provide cutting-edge training in recycling for the American workforce. This includes advanced education and workforce training in metals, fibers, electronic waste and plastics recycling.
Founded in May 2017, REMADE is a $140 million Manufacturing USA Institute co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. REMADE is the only national institute investing in the development of transformational technologies to support U.S. manufacturing in the transition to a circular economy.