It also aims to develop improved recycling strategies that can break down existing plastics into chemical building blocks that can be used to make higher-value products.
The FOA will be jointly funded by the Bioenergy Technologies Office and Advanced Manufacturing Office.
It will support DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge, a program launched in November 2019 to accelerate innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies.
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Earlier this year BETO and AMO jointly funded the Bio-Optimized Technologies to Keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) Consortium, a national lab-led seed consortium established to focus on designing new plastics and recycling strategies.
The DOE said the new FOA aims to expand that effort beyond the consortium and utilize resources BOTTLE has developed through partnerships with industry, universities and others to advance DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge.
According to the DOE, BETO and AMO have identified significant potential to improve the carbon efficiency and energy efficiency of plastics recycling technologies.
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To achieve that potential, research is needed to develop novel polymers that are designed for infinite recyclability, create innovative deconstruction pathways for existing polymers that generate high-value products, and establish a consistent framework for evaluating carbon and energy efficiency across potential material flows and transformations.
The FOA is expected to include three primary topic areas.
The first, highly recyclable or biodegradable biobased plastics, aims to develop biobased plastics that have improved performance attributes over a comparable existing plastics and can be cost-effectively recycled or biodegrade completely in the environment or in compost facilities.
The second, novel methods for deconstructing and upcycling existing plastic waste, aims to develop energy efficient chemical recycling technologies that are capable of breaking down plastics streams into intermediates that can be upgraded into higher value products.
The third, BOTTLE consortium collaborations to tackle challenges in plastic waste, aims to develop collaborations with the BOTTLE laboratory consortium to further the long-term goals of the consortium and the Plastics Innovation Challenge.
The EERE plans to issue the FOA in January 2020.
Additional information is available under DE-FOA-0002244 on the DOE’s EERE Exchange website.
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