The Remade Institute, a 167-member public-private partnership established by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $19.6 million in new technology research, selecting 14 new research, development and demonstration projects as part of the Institute’s latest round of funding.
Half of the projects involve research at the demonstration phase, responding directly to need to meet multiple energy, environmental, and economic goals.
“These projects underscore the importance of manufacturing and materials innovations toward advancing a circular economy,” said Dr. Christopher Saldaña, director of DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO).
“The partnership between DOE and the Remade Institute serves as a conduit for catalyzing transformative practices that not only bolster America’s manufacturing expertise but also accentuate our nation’s commitment to environmental stewardship.”
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, manufacturing accounts for 25% of U.S. energy consumption at a cost of approximately $150 billion. Based on data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, industry is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the nation, at 30%.
Remade CEO Nabil Nasr said these are just some of the main reasons why a circular approach to manufacturing — “make-use-reuse-remanufacture-recycle” — is so important, and why Remade is dedicated to the adoption of a Circular Economy.
“A Circular Economy is imperative,” Nasr said. “It’s critical in reducing industry’s energy consumption and emissions in the race to net-zero by 2050. At the same time, a circular approach is vital to increasing U.S. manufacturing’s competitiveness, increasing the resiliency of the nation’s supply chain, and creating new clean economy jobs.”
This latest round of investment, the Institute’s sixth, is cost-shared between DOE’s investment in Remade and the funding recipients. Of the 14 new projects, several involve new partners for Remade. They join the Institute’s existing partners, including industry innovators and academic researchers with Caterpillar, John Deere, Michelin, MIT, RIT, Unilever, Volvo, Yale University and many more.
Remade Chief Technology Officer Magdi Azer said the Institute’s research seeks to increase circularity for four energy-intensive material classes: metals, plastics/polymers, fibers, and electronic scrap, or e-scrap.
“Remade’s projects address multiple aspects of the Circular Economy, including systems analysis, circular design, remanufacturing and reuse, recovery and recycling,” Azer said.
“These latest R&D projects will, for example, explore better ways to remanufacture cast iron components; remove contaminants from molten aluminum scrap; convert the midsoles of used shoes into a newer, more sustainable foam for footwear; develop machine learning tools to advance the sorting of textiles; design recyclable multilayer flexible packaging; and increase machine learning tools to better determine the state-of-health for used hybrid and electric vehicle batteries.”
Since the Institute’s founding in 2017, Remade has launched or selected nearly 100 R&D projects, representing a total combined value of nearly $100 million. Altogether, these projects are developing technologies that, once fully implemented, are capable of:
- Reducing the use of raw or virgin, or primary, materials by more than 41.2 million metric tons per year
- Increasing the supply and use of recycled, or secondary, materials by more than 41.2 million metric tons per year
- Saving approximately 1.39 quads of embodied energy per year, the equivalent of conserving 239 million barrels of oil per year
- Decreasing greenhouse gas emissions by more than 80.8 million metric tons per year, the equivalent of eliminating the annual emissions of more than 17.9 million cars
In addition to the 14 R&D projects, Remade also recently selected an education and workforce development project for funding.