WASHINGTON—The U.S. Department of Energy has announced more than $27 million in funding for 12 projects in the advanced plastics recycling arena, including four related to polyurethanes.
The program, known as "Bio-optimized technologies to keep thermoplastics out of landfills and the environment," is designed to improve existing recycling processes to transform waste plastic into monomers to make new products.
The four projects selected in the novel recyclable or biodegradable bio-based plastics category are:
University of California, San Diego: $2 million for its project making PU from algae precursors. Partners include the UCSD spin-out Algenesis, plus BASF, Pepsi, shoemaker Reef and the University of California Davis.
UCSD: $2.1 million for a project on degradable biocomposite thermoplastic polyurethanes. Partners again include BASF, plus the University of Georgia.
Battelle Memorial Institute in Columbus, Ohio: $2 million for its hybrid approach to repurposing plastics via novel engineered projects, working with Allonia and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. They are working to convert polyether PU foam into regenerated polyols and diamines.
National Renewable Energy Laboratory: $2.5 million for the recyclable and biodegradable manufacturing and processing of polymers based on renewable branched caprolactones, including polyurethanes. It also is involved in the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities project. Other partners include BASF and MIT.
"These new projects support that objective through the development of energy-efficient recycling technologies that will strengthen U.S. competitiveness and help reduce plastic waste in our environment for generations to come," said Mark Menezes, deputy secretary of energy.