The REMADE Institute will award $43 million in new technology research and has selected 24 new projects as part of the institute’s latest round of funding.
REMADE CEO Nabil Nasr said he expects the results of the projects to move the U.S. closer to the nation’s energy conservation and emissions reduction targets, both of which have received renewed national attention in recent weeks.
“Our mission is to reduce energy consumption and decrease emissions while increasing the U.S.’s manufacturing competitiveness,” Nasr said. “Our experts are working diligently to reach these critically important goals and, in the process, accelerate the U.S.’s transition to a circular economy.”
The $43 million investment is cost-shared between REMADE and the funding recipients. The 24 research projects are expected to result in numerous positive impacts, including:
• Increase the recycling of materials by as much as 20 million metrics tons per year — a nearly 15 percent increase per year in all recycled materials in the U.S.
• Save up to 640 petajoules (PJ) of embodied energy per year — the equivalent of conserving 100 million barrels of oil per year, or the amount consumed in the average workweek in the U.S.
• Decrease greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30 million metric tons per year — erasing the GHG emissions of roughly 1.9 million people per year in the U.S.
Of the 24 projects, many involve new partners for REMADE, including the Ford Motor Co., BASF and Case Western Reserve University. They join more than 90 existing partners, including industry innovators and academic researchers with Caterpillar, John Deere, Michelin, Nike, MIT, RIT, Yale University and many more.
REMADE officials noted that efforts are ongoing worldwide to move from today’s linear economy, where we “take-make-dispose,” to a circular economy, where we “make-use-recycle.” Reducing energy consumption and decreasing GHG emissions are major components of that transformation.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, manufacturing accounts for one-quarter of U.S. energy consumption at a cost of roughly $150 billion. Based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, industry is the third-largest contributor to GHG emissions in the nation at 22 percent.
“REMADE and its partners are determined to reduce those numbers significantly while creating new clean economy jobs,” Nasr said.
REMADE Chief Technology Officer Magdi Azer said the institute’s research examines the circular economy as a whole and focuses primarily on four materials classes in which the institute can make the most impact: metals, polymers, fibers and electronic waste.
“REMADE’s projects address multiple aspects of the circular economy, including remanufacturing, recycling, and recovery,” Azer said. “These latest projects will, for example, explore ways to advance sustainable automotive manufacturing and address issues related to plastics recycling in food packaging — one of the fastest-growing and most pressing sustainability issues in the U.S.”
The selected initiatives include large-scale transformational projects, which are led by industry and address issues across the supply chain.
The REMADE Institute is a public-private partnership established by the U.S. Department of Energy and the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation’s transition to a circular economy.
The latest round of funding, REMADE’s fourth, brings the institute’s total number of research projects to more than 60, representing a total combined value of $63 million since the institute’s founding in 2017.
Nasr said a fifth round of funding, valued at an additional $50 million, is expected to be announced in late spring. Projects that address education and workforce development will be considered in the fifth round, in addition to the transformational and traditional research projects that REMADE prioritizes.
“REMADE is the leading circular economy institute in the U.S., and our manufacturing, university and national lab members are always open to working with new partners,” he said. “Our next round of funding will be an ideal opportunity to explore potential partnerships further.”
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