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DOE Invests $13.4 Million to Combat Plastic Waste, Reduce Plastic Industry Emissions

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) today announced $13.4 million in funding for next generation plastics technologies that reduce the energy consumption and carbon emissions of single-use plastics. The seven selected research and development (R&D) projects — led by industry and universities — will convert plastic films into more valuable materials and design new plastics that are more recyclable and biodegradable. This investment advances DOE’s work to address the challenges of plastic waste recycling and supports the Biden Administration’s efforts to build a clean energy economy and ensure the U.S. reaches net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

“Single-use plastics generate large amounts of carbon pollution when produced, are hard to recycle, and dirty our nation’s beaches, parks and neighborhoods,” said Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm. “By advancing technologies that repurpose single-use plastics and make the materials biodegradable, we can hit a trifecta of reduced plastic waste, fewer emissions from the plastics industry, and an influx of clean manufacturing jobs for American workers.”


Projects selected are:

  • Braskem (Pittsburgh, PA) will develop infinitely recyclable single-polymer chemistry bio-based multilayer films. (Award Amount: $2,000,000)

  • Iowa State University of Science and Technology (Ames, IA) will develop a closed loop upcycling of single-use plastic films to biodegradable polymers. (Award Amount: $2,500,000)

  • Michigan State University (East Lansing, MI) will create a redesign for inherently recyclable plastics. (Award Amount: $1,705,811)

  • North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University (Greensboro, NC) will formulate the catalytic deconstruction of plasma treated single-use plastics to value-added chemicals and novel materials. (Award Amount: $2,499,994)

  • TDA Research Inc. (Wheat Ridge, CO) will develop infinitely recyclable and biodegradable films for improved food packaging. (Award Amount: $1,609,056)

  • University of Massachusetts Lowell (Lowell, MA) will integrate delamination and carbonization processes for the upcycling of single-use, multi-layer plastic films. (Award Amount: $1,600,276)

  • West Virginia University Research Corporation (Morgantown, WV) will develop process intensified modular upcycling of plastic films to monomers by microwave catalysis. (Award Amount: $1,500,001)


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