A manufacturing research organisation co-funded by the U.S. Department of Energy,
the REMADE Institute recently issued its third Request for Proposals (RFP) to develop technologies to increase the recovery, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling of metals, polymers, fibers, and e-waste.
The group says the investment will help solve some of the key technical challenges to deriving the energy, environmental and social benefits of a circular economy. The Institute’s investment will support addressing knowledge gaps that can increase the recycling of plastics and increase the remanufacturing and re-use of products ranging from consumer electronics to high-performance engines. It is also seeking 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% (2015) to 4.4% (2018), resulting in more plastic in landfills, incinerators, waste streams and our environment, including the oceans. REMADE says the 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% intensity in sectors where remanufacturing is common.
Training and development of the workforce that will be required to design, build and operate new technologies for the Circular Economy is essential. As part of this new RFP, the REMADE Institute will invest in education and workforce development to support high-quality jobs and ensure that the workforce is trained to meet the changing needs of industry.
Other examples of projects that REMADE says it will invest in include:
· Develop new manufacturing and recycling technologies to increase secondary feedstock use in manufacturing by 20% 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%.
· Create design alternatives that increase the recovery, recycling, reuse, and remanufacturing of products at the end of their life cycle.
· 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.