DOE to Invest $25 Million in Polymer Upcycling Plastic Waste Reuse Research

DOE to Invest $25 Million in Polymer Upcycling Plastic Waste Reuse Research

The Department of Energy (DOE) has announced it will invest $25 million in fundamental science research aimed at discovering new technology that reuses plastic waste. The research will focus on polymer upcycling, the process of efficiently deconstructing and rebuilding polymers, which are the essential building blocks of plastics. Beyond simply turning recycled plastic bottles into another form of plastic consumable good, DOE’s research will investigate how upcycled polymers can be made into chemicals, fuels, and other products.


The Funding Opportunity Announcement (FOA) entitled, “Chemical Upcycling of Polymers” is part of a series of research efforts sponsored under DOE’s Plastic Innovation Challenge. Research funded through this opportunity will pursue basic discoveries to enable energy-efficient deconstruction and reassembly of polymers, to improve polymer properties, and to enable the more efficient reuse of polymer components.


Dr. Steve Binkley, Acting Director of DOE’s Office of Science, says “Polymer upcycling holds the promise of boosting reuse of plastic waste and lowering the energy costs of plastic production. This research will provide insights into chemical and materials phenomena that will be critical to accelerating developments in this emerging area.”


Total planned funding is $25 million for three-year projects, with $8.3 million in Fiscal Year 2021. Pre-applications are required and are due March 10, 2021.


For more information, the FOA can be found at:

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