Circular Economy

Institute announces $43 Million for research-projects

For pushing the U.S.'s transition to a Circular Economy, the US-institute Remade announced $43 million in new technology research. The selected projects 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 United States Department of Energy and the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation's transition to a Circular Economy. It will spend $43 million in new technology research, selecting 24 new projects as part of the institute's latest round of funding.

Remade Chief Executive Officer Nabil Nasr said the anticipated results of the projects will 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% 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 work week in the U.S.
- Decrease greenhouse gas emissions by as much as 30 million metric tons per year — erasing the GHG emissions of approximately 1.9 million people per year in the U.S.

Of the 24 projects, many involve new partners for Remade, including the Ford Motor Company, 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.

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 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 third-largest contributor to GHG emissions in the nation at 22%.

"Remade and its partners are determined to reduce those numbers significantly, while creating new clean economy jobs," Nasr said.

Magdi Azer, Chief Technology Officer for Remade, 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 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."