In order to reduce the energy consumption and carbon emission of disposable plastics, DOE of the US Department of energy recently announced that it would provide us $13.4 million for the next generation of plastics technology. Seven R & D projects led by industry and universities have received the financial support. These seven projects will be committed to developing affordable "upgraded recycling" solutions, converting waste plastic films into more valuable materials, and designing new plastics that are easy to recycle and biodegradable.
The energy consumption of plastic production process is very high. According to statistics, plastic production accounts for more than 3% of the total energy consumption of the United States. Nevertheless, many of these materials end up in landfills or the environment, especially disposable plastics, such as plastic bags, packaging bags and films. At present, less than 10% of plastics are recycled, and most of them are "degraded and recycled" for low-value products.
This investment will help the Department of energy meet the challenge of plastic waste recycling and support the Biden administration to establish a clean energy economy to ensure that the United States will achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Seven projects supported by government funds are as follows:
Braskem (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) will develop recycled monomer polymer chemical biological based multilayer films. (US $2 million)
Iowa State University of science and Technology (Ames, Iowa) will develop a closed-loop recycling technology that can upgrade disposable plastic films to biodegradable materials. (US $2.5 million)
Michigan State University (East Lansing, Michigan) will redesign existing recyclable plastics. (USD 1705811)
The State University of agriculture and technology of North Carolina (Greensboro, North Carolina) catalyzes the deconstruction of plasma treated disposable plastics into value-added chemicals and new materials. (US $249994)
TDA Research Center (Whiteridge, Colorado) will develop recycled, recyclable and biodegradable films for improving food packaging. (US $1609056)
The University of Lowell, Massachusetts (Lowell, Massachusetts) will integrate delamination and carbonization processes for the upgrading cycle of disposable multilayer plastic films. (US $1600276)
The University of West Virginia (morgenton, West Virginia) will develop a process for modular upgrading of microwave catalyzed reinforced plastic films into monomers. (USD 1500001)
"Disposable plastics produce a lot of carbon emissions that are difficult to recycle, which pollute beaches, parks and communities," said energy secretary Jennifer M. Granholm. "By improving technology and realizing the recycling and biodegradation of disposable plastics, the triple goals of reducing plastic waste, reducing emissions from the plastic industry and providing clean jobs for American workers can be achieved at the same time."