As part of its Plastic Innovation Challenge, the US Department of Energy (DOE) has declared funds for Plastic Recycling Research and Development by up to $25 million.
In 2019, the DOE initiated this Plastic Innovation Challenge, aiming to accelerate innovations for the reduction of plastic waste. Taking forward the same, the DOE’s Bioenergy Technologies Office and Advanced Manufacturing Office have released a joint Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) called BOTTLE for supporting and funding plastic recycling research and development.
BOTTLE – Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment
The objective behind introducing BOTTLE FOA is to encourage plastic recycling strategies and the development of efficiently recyclable polymers and biodegradable new plastics. The recycling strategies should be capable of converting plastic into such chemical building blocks, which could later be utilized constructively for making higher-value products.
During the announcement, a new BOTTLE Consortium, an association for focusing on designing of new plastics and plastic recycling strategies, was also launched by DOE. The current members of this association are Los Alamos National Laboratory, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Industry and academia will be working in association with the consortium for tackling the challenges of plastic waste and redrafting the current trends and techniques of the plastic industry.
The precis of the department’s declarations is the availability of up to $25 million in grants for three primary topic areas:
- Biodegradable or highly recyclable plastics
- New methods to deconstruct and upcycle existing plastics
- BOTTLE consortium collaborations for tackling challenges in plastic waste
While three to five awards have been declared for the first two topic areas, four to six are expected for the third, with each grant amounting from $1.5 million to $2.5 million.
The application process for partaking in the scheme includes two phases:
Phase I: A concept paper
Phase II: A full application
The due dates for Phase I and Phase II are April 22 and June 18, respectively.