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   Gold/Mining/EnergyJBII - The Secret Catalyst Turns Plastics into Oil


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From: donpat1/9/2018 4:59:37 PM
   of 704
 
Who needs oil???!!!

Battery technology allows 700-mile range on one-minute charge: Henrik Fisker

Fox Business Videos•January 9, 2018

Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker on the company's electric car battery technology.

https://finance.yahoo.com/video/battery-technology-allows-700-mile-160435740.html

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To: donpat who wrote (697)2/18/2020 1:30:13 PM
From: Buckey
   of 704
 
IHUB lifted my ban 3648 days or 4 days short of ten years LOL

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From: scion1/24/2021 10:34:32 AM
   of 704
 
Plastic makers bet on new waste recovery technologies

Chemical recycling has potential to treat wider spectrum of synthetic rubbish

Michael Pooler JANUARY 22 2021
ft.com


Plastic rubbish is seen near a dam’s hydroelectric plant on Potpecko lake, Serbia. Although in its infancy, chemical recycling has the potential, if widely rolled out, to reduce the amount of discarded plastic that ends up buried, incinerated or littering the world’s oceans © Branko Filipovic/Reuters

For an idea of one way the chemicals industry intends to confront one of the worst environmental scourges of our age, consider the humble Muller yoghurt pot.

A version of the German dairy brand’s distinctive twin-cup container was produced in small demonstration quantities, with one key difference.

Half of the polystyrene, supplied by the petrochemicals group Ineos, came from an innovative kind of recycling technique heralded as a means to help tackle the plastic crisis.

It is among a clutch of industrial processes under development that turn plastic waste into basic chemicals or oils, which can then provide the raw materials for new polymers.

With chemical recycling, you can recreate the raw materials and create virgin plastics with the same characteristics of the normal plastic. You can basically produce the whole range of polymers.

Backers say these technologies are capable of treating a wider spectrum of plastic rubbish and producing higher quality material than conventional recovery methods.

Although in its infancy, chemical recycling has the potential, if widely rolled out, to reduce the amount of discarded plastic that ends up buried, incinerated or littering the world’s oceans.

“It basically takes a waste plastic and unzips it back to its original feedstock or components,” said Jim Becker, vice-president of polymers and sustainability at Chevron Phillips Chemical.

The company recently became the first in the US to produce on a commercial scale chemically recycled polyethylene, the most common plastic resin, which goes into carrier bags and shrink film. It now has a goal to produce 1bn pounds (454,000 tonnes) of the recycled substance annually by 2030.



Other major chemicals manufacturers such as Total, Saudi Arabia’s Sabic and BASF are throwing their weight behind similar initiatives, while investors are piling into start-ups in the nascent field.

Investments worth $4.3bn for projects to convert plastic trash into new polymers or fuel have been announced in the US alone since 2017, according to the American Chemistry Council.

The developments coincide with pledges by big consumer goods brands to slash the amount of ‘virgin’ plastics, newly created from hydrocarbons, in their packaging. This will require supplies of recycled content to at least triple by 2030, according to Closed Loop Partners, an investment firm with about $250m of assets under management.

Jessica Stewart, of Systemiq, a sustainability consulting and investment company, said that many corporate and government targets can only be met with traditional mechanical recycling alongside newer chemical routes. But, she added, there were still many questions hanging over the latter.

“The system is immature and some stakeholders remain very sceptical because of the technical, economic and environmental performance, which just isn’t proven at scale yet”.

In conventional mechanical recycling, plastic is cleaned, shredded, melted and reformed as pellets. However, the grades produced are usually of a lower quality, with potential contamination and impurities often making them unsuitable for contact with food.

Chemical recycling will have to prove competitive during times of low crude prices to make a serious dent into the roughly 350m tonnes of plastic churned out globally each year. © SeongJoon Cho/Bloomberg
A single piece of plastic can normally only go through the process up to a few times. But many items are not recyclable this way, for economic or technical reasons.

Emerging chemical or “advanced” recycling processes purport to overcome these limitations.

“With chemical recycling, you can recreate the raw materials and create virgin plastics with the same characteristics of the normal plastic. You can basically produce the whole range of polymers,” said Daniele Ferrari, chief executive of Versalis, a subsidiary of Italian oil and gas company Eni, which is building a demonstration facility.

To make a serious dent into the roughly 350m tonnes of plastic churned out globally each year, though, it will have to prove competitive during times of low crude prices like at present. Cheaper oil and natural gas lower one of the main input costs for plastic.



While many of the underlying technologies and equipment in chemical recycling are not new, they are being repurposed to be integrated into existing chemicals production infrastructure.

Plastic Energy, a start-up that has raised €60m in funding, says it has refined the quality, purification and energy efficiency of pyrolysis, an established method for generating fuel from solid waste by applying heat in the absence of oxygen.

The UK-based company runs two commercial-scale plants in Spain and plans to build 10 facilities by 2025, including at sites owned by Total in France and Sabic in the Netherlands.

Its reactors are fed with a mixture of low-quality refuse and are able to take mixed materials that mechanical recycling cannot, like metallic-lined crisp packets. Up to three-quarters of the output is a mix of hydrocarbon oils that can replace naphtha, a key feedstock for petrochemical plants that produce the building blocks for plastics.

Campaigners view novel waste treatments as a distraction from the root of the plastic problem: overproduction of packaging. © Plastic Energy
“There’s still a need for sortation, however it’s less fine than mechanical recycling given we don’t have to separate by polymers and colours,” said Cloé Ragot, head of policy and sustainability at Plastic Energy.

Ineos, which is teaming up with partners to build two pilot facilities in the US and Europe, says the production of polystyrene by chemical recycling slashes greenhouse gas emissions by half.

Yet for all the hype, there remain many doubters. With the petrochemicals industry planning to invest $400bn into new capacity over five years, according to climate think-tank Carbon Tracker, campaigners view these novel waste treatments as a distraction from the root of the problem: overproduction of packaging.

Climate Capital

Where climate change meets business, markets and politics. Explore the FT’s coverage here

Certain investors have demonstrated incredulity too, as shown when one company with claims of a breakthrough technology came under attack from a short seller in October.

Hindenburg Research, which last year also launched a broadside against hydrogen truck start-up Nikola, described Nasdaq-quoted Loop Industries as “smoke and mirrors with no viable technology”.

Loop said the report contained factual inaccuracies, with assertions that were unfounded or based on an older version of its technology. But its stock fell sharply after the report.

If chemical recycling is to play a role in redeeming plastic’s dirty reputation, policymakers and the public will also need convincing.

ft.com

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To: scion who wrote (699)1/24/2021 1:31:44 PM
From: scion
   of 704
 
Marine Litter Vital Graphics

ec.europa.eu

Foreword

Every year, the sum of humanity’s knowledge increases exponentially. And as we learn more, we also learn there is much we still don’t know. Plastic litter in our oceans is one area where we need to learn more, and we need to learn it quickly. That’s one of the main messages in Marine Litter Vital Graphics. Another important message is that we already know enough to take action.


---
What is marine litter and why it is of concern


Just as human activities are varied and widespread, so are the sources of litter. The sources may be located directly at sea, on the coast or further inland. Litter can be transported
over long distances and into all marine habitats – from the surf zone all the way to remote mid-oceanic gyres and the deep sea floor. Like other pollutants, marine litter affects habitats, ecological function and the health of organisms of the ecosystems where it accumulates.

*The terms litter and debris are considered to have the same meaning in this report and are used interchangeably throughout.

Any human-made object that does not naturally degrade within days or months can potentially become marine litter if it is not properly managed. Common litter items are made of paper, wood, textiles, metal, glass, ceramics, rubber and plastic discarded by humans (UNEP, 2005).


DEFINITIONS

5
Foreword
6
What is marine litter and why it is of concern
10
Modern times, marine litter
14
Ecological impacts of marine plastic debris and microplastics
18
Economic and social costs of marine plastic pollution
20
Plastic in the food chain – a threat to human health?
22
We all contribute to this problem. Yes, all
34
Final destination: The Ocean…
37
My litter your problem, your litter my problem
40
Out of sight, out of mind?
42
What are the policy responses to the problem?
46
Better (and cheaper) to be tidy than to have to tidy up
50
Big questions that remain unanswered
52
Conclusions
54
References

ec.europa.eu

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To: scion who wrote (700)1/26/2021 3:12:14 PM
From: scion
   of 704
 
New technology to track and remove ghost nets which are killing fish

Expensive fishing nets and equipment can get lost at sea during storms but researchers have found a way to find them

By Tom Wilkinson, PAAmardeep Bassey
12:38, 30 APR 2019UPDATED12:40, 30 APR 2019
grimsbytelegraph.co.uk

New technology could be used to protect marine life from pollution by locating and retrieving lost nets and fishing gear which can drift around the oceans for years.

Known as “ghost nets”, they are a major threat to sea life, choking coral reefs, damaging habitats, trapping fish, birds and mammals, as well as getting tangled on propellers.

The nets, often lost during storms and sent adrift for long distances on currents, are also a source of pollution as they slowly break up, adding to the volume of micro-plastics in our seas.

Researchers from Newcastle University say the NetTag project could help by attaching low-cost location devices to fishing gear to help retrieve it if it goes adrift, as can often happen during storms.

The match box-sized transponders, which could cost as little as £100 to locate nets worth many thousands, could be a “win-win” for fishermen and the environment, the developers believe.

As well as being low-cost, another key parts of the breakthrough is that the technology will have very low power consumption, meaning its battery could last for months in the water.

And unlike the “black box” transponders used in aeroplanes, the new technology will only reply with a low volume “ping” when it picks up a tracking signal within its range, meaning sealife will not be constantly disturbed by the devices.

Once located, fishermen could try to recover the nets themselves, or the fisheries authorities could be brought in to use underwater robotic technology to collect the marine litter in hard-to-reach places.

They could also be used by divers to tag litter they see in the ocean, so it can be retrieved later.

Jeff Neasham, senior lecturer in the School of Engineering, said: “We want to achieve a win-win scenario where modest investment by fishermen can be more than paid back, by avoiding the loss of valuable assets, while also significantly reducing a major source of plastic pollution in the marine environment.”

Mr Neasham added: “These devices don’t sit there and transmit continuously, making a racket all the time; they sit and listen and they only talk if a unit on the surfaces accesses them to talk.

“We are not creating a big environmental problem with noise emissions."


grimsbytelegraph.co.uk

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From: scion2/16/2021 4:35:20 AM
   of 704
 
Chemical Recycling Is No Silver Bullet for Eliminating Plastic Waste

TAGS: SUSTAINABILITY MATERIALS MATERIALS RESEARCH ADVANCED RECYCLING WASTE TO FUEL
plasticstoday.com

Image: Aykuterd/Adobe Stock

Chemical recycling projects are attracting massive investments but, so far, the ROI is negligible.

Clare Goldsberry | Feb 13, 2021

A paper published last fall in Chemical & Engineering News (CEN) by the American Chemical Society (ACS), “Companies are placing big bets on plastics recycling. Are the odds in their favor?” noted that “chemical recycling is attracting billions in capital spending, but environmentalists don’t think it will solve the plastic waste problem.”

This isn’t news. Consumers and especially anti-plastics activists have lost faith in the plastic industry’s ability to help solve a problem it has been accused of creating, and the slow pace of advanced recycling technologies, aka chemical recycling, hasn’t helped renew confidence that this will be the silver bullet that will rid the world of plastic waste. But attempts continue unabated and the cost of trying is proving to be extremely high.

Even the pace of adoption of various types of plastic, from recyclable traditional plastics such as PET and HDPE to bioplastics, as alternatives to traditional plastics seems extremely slow. The chemical recycling industry also has taken hits, as noted above. For example, the CEN/ACS paper opened by saying that in 2022 “Mondelez International intends to start packaging its Philadelphia brand cream cheese in a tube made from chemically recycled plastics. The packaging maker Berry Global will mold the containers. Petrochemical giant Sabic will supply the polypropylene. And the start-up Plastic Energy will produce feedstock for that polypropylene from postconsumer plastics at a plant it is constructing on Sabic’s site in Geleen, Netherlands.”

We’re not holding our collective breaths.

For at least a decade I’ve written blogs about the many consumer brand owners such as Kraft Heinz, Mondelez, and Nestlé being pressured by anti-plastics activist group As You Sow to find alternatives to single-use plastic packaging as a means to end plastic waste in the environment. Through shareholder proposals, As You Sow keeps applying the pressure, writing about the continued lack of progress these companies are making and the slow pace of adoption of alternative materials, most of which are no “greener” than plastics when you examine their life-cycle analyses. Still, to appease these activist groups, big brand owners keep promising to find the Holy Grail of recycling that will turn mountains of plastic trash into beautifully pure new plastic, or millions of gallons of fuel and other base chemicals from which to make new plastics.

Promises, promises.The CEN/ACS report is correct when it says that Mondelez “isn’t the only multinational firm promising a high-profile business to start-ups, some of which haven’t even built their first recycling plants yet. Food, beverage, and consumer product companies — under fire to do something about mounting plastic waste — are clamoring to set up relationships like [Mondelez, Berry and Sabic]. They have embraced chemical recycling as a means of incorporating renewable content without the performance compromises common with current recycling methods. Seeing a market, recycling companies will spend billions of dollars on recycling projects in the US and Europe in the 2020s.”

An announcement from recycler Agilyx Corp. applauded the National Recycling Strategy announced by the US Environmental Protection Agency, touting the “significant progress in domestic investment in the US recycling system. In the past three years, 64 projects in mechanical and advanced recycling in the US have been announced, valued at $5.3 billion, according to the American Chemistry Council (ACC). Together, these projects have the potential to divert more than four million metric tons of waste from landfills each year. In addition, many companies have made significant commitments to use recycled plastics in their packaging and products,” said Agilyx’s announcement of support.

Many of the announced projects for chemical recycling facilities that I’ve written about over the past five years are, at this point, dead in the water. Some have been limping along for two decades, still unable to take in any significant amount of plastic waste to produce commercially viable amounts of fuel, chemicals, or new plastic. Yet, new announcements for chemical recycling facilities pop up in my inbox like dandelions on a spring lawn, announcing large investments and making even grander promises of helping solve the plastic waste crisis.

For example, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam announced on June 2, 2020, that Braven Environmental, a company that uses pyrolysis technology to derive fuel from landfill-bound plastic, will invest $31.7 million to establish a manufacturing operation in Cumberland County. Virginia successfully competed with North Carolina and South Carolina for the project.

Northam boasted of the “well-paid job opportunities” for the citizens of Cumberland County and the company’s contribution to lessening Virginia’s environmental footprint. Braven received a $150,000 grant from the Commonwealth Opportunity Fund to assist Cumberland County with the project. The Virginia Tobacco Region revitalization commission approved $65,000 in Tobacco Region Opportunity Funds for the project, and funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program. Braven plans to create a total of over 80 new jobs within 18 months of the first phase of this project. (Read the article PlasticsToday published about this project.)

Virginia’s chemical recycling bills a “step backwards.”A January 26, 2021, report in the online newsletter Blue Virginia criticized two plastics “chemical recycling” bills in the Virginia Assembly, saying that these bills “represent a step backwards” for Virginia’s climate and public health. SB1164 and HB 2173 are “rapidly moving forward” in the current session and “represent textbook examples of ‘greenwashing’” according to Blue Virginia.

HB 2173 Advanced Recycling defines advanced recycling as a “manufacturing process for the conversion of post-use polymers and recovered feedstocks into basic hydrocarbon raw materials and other material.” The bill also defines “gasification,” “post-use polymers,” and other terms related to advanced recycling. SB 1164 is also an advanced recycling bill with the same definition as HB 2173, but adding that advanced recycling is “not considered waste management.”

In an attempt to find out if there is any connection between the two bills in the Virginia Assembly and the proposed construction of the Braven Environmental facility, I called the Economic Development Authority (EDA) and left messages, requesting a progress report on the Braven facility. An assistant at the EDA office said she passed my message along to two other people. Attempts to reach those individuals were unsuccessful. No returned phone calls were received.

All that is being received are promises and commitments. We’re still waiting for the big cleanup to begin.

University researchers pick up the ball.As some of the world’s largest companies, brand owners, and Big Oil pour resources into chemical recycling to counter the image of “plastic polluters,” another group is also hard at work in its labs — academe.

For example, Steven Crossley, an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering, was recently awarded a four-year, $2-million collaborative grant by the Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program of the National Science Foundation to advance polymer recycling technologies in hopes of sending fewer multi-layer plastics to landfills. Crossley's is the latest in a number of ongoing projects in academic settings trying to solve the problem.

Recycling, the announcement noted, has its challenges and the big one is “for researchers to design a process that allows more of the plastics we use in our everyday lives to end up in our recycle bins rather than the local landfill. But not only does this require scientists to design innovative ways to break down these various types of plastic, it also must be economical for the plastic producers and recyclers.”

Another challenge to recycling — especially mechanical recycling — involves the impurities that accompany recyclate to the recycling facility. “Impurities, such as food and drink in the bottom of a plastic container . . . are difficult to eliminate, and once melted down, degrade the quality of the recycled material,” said the university.



Image: University of Oklahoma

Steven Crossley of the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering is leading a chemical recycling project exploring the use of catalysts to neutralize impurities in recyclate.
That’s where Crossley’s work comes into play. “But what if,” he asks, “we could design catalysts that target and convert those impurities to either make them more compatible with the rest of the plastic, or convert them selectively to carbon dioxide or light gases that could easily be removed, producing a pure stream of higher value.”

Crossley’s research group’s efforts will be complemented by computational simulations led by Associate Professor Bin Wang and experimental efforts in a scaled-up continuous system led by Professor Lance Lobban. Both researchers work in the School of Chemical, Biological, and Materials Engineering at the University of Oklahoma (OU).

As we all know, recycling requires the mass participation of consumers actually putting their recyclable items into a recycling bin. As recyclers like to say: “We can’t recycle it if we can’t get our hands on it.” So, in addition to upgrading mixed plastic waste streams using catalysts, Adam Feltz, associate professor of psychology at OU, “will incorporate public perception surveys to determine how best to motivate appropriate public participation in plastic waste collection systems.”

That’s certainly one angle I never thought of — a clean and beautiful environment isn’t enough “motivation” for consumers to put their recyclable plastic (and other materials) into the recycling system. We need a psychologist on the team to determine what needs to happen in peoples’ minds to actually motivate them to put recyclable items in a recycling bin.

Talk about “giving it the old college try!”

Supply of recycled plastics fails to meet demand.The CEN/ACS report cited the “deep skepticism” surrounding the various chemical recycling methods from groups such as Greenpeace and GAIA (Global Alliance for Incinerator Alternatives), which both have expressed doubt in recent papers that chemical recycling will ever be viable. In GAIA’s report, “All Talk and No Recycling: An Investigation of the US ‘Chemical Recycling’ Industry,” the group “alleges that the plastics and fossil-fuel industries are promoting chemical recycling ‘as the silver bullet to solve the plastic crisis.’”

The ACC reports that the demand for recycled plastics is increasing to meet brand owners’ sustainability goals. But will there be enough recycled material to meet that demand? The CEN/ACS report said that it’s doubtful. Given the size of the plastic waste problem and the “big commitments of consumer product companies,” there are also big opportunities. However, meeting demand won’t be easy. Agliyx CEO Tim Stedman told CEN/ACS that his company would “need to build more than 20 plants with 100 tons per day of capacity to meet a target of 30% recycled content in polystyrene packaging in North America and Europe, which half the market has already committed to.”

Have consumer products companies over-committed in their “sustainable” promises? People in the industry, who commented for the CEN/ACS report, say absolutely, like Berry’s Robert Flores, VP of Sustainability: “There is actually not currently enough [recycled material] out there to meet all those goals, quite frankly.”

The CEN/ACS report concludes what most of us in the industry already know, and that is, despite the demand, “environmentalists say the first chemical recycling projects are having difficulty getting off the ground.” Noting the Greenpeace report, “Deception by the Numbers,” released last September, 52 projects were analyzed. These projects make up the $4.8 billion investment figure cited by the ACC. Greenpeace estimates that a third of these projects are not likely to be viable. From my own research over the past several years, I think one-third is a bit optimistic.

But that’s the way science operates. Failure is part of the game. Trial and error is the way advances in science are made, and there are a few chemical recycling plants in operation that are seeing some measure of success in actually producing fuels and chemicals from the plastic waste they collect from various municipalities. But, as they tell me — and as Agilyx’s CEO points out to CEN/ACS — there’s not nearly enough capacity to make a dent in the waste being generated.

PlasticsToday has run numerous articles and blogs regarding the problems being encountered by entrepreneurial start-ups that appear to be good at finding investors but not so great at making any real progress in eliminating plastic waste. CEN/ACS’s report mentions Loop Industries toward the end, noting the promises and commitments that company has made over the past three years. We all know the situation Loop Industries has found itself in.

I think that the sub-headline in the CEN/ACS report says it best: “Chemical recycling is attracting billions in capital spending, but environmentalists don’t think it will solve the plastic waste problem.”

It’s up to these companies to prove the environmentalists wrong — and they should do so sooner rather than later.

plasticstoday.com

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To: scion who wrote (702)2/16/2021 4:48:49 AM
From: scion
   of 704
 
Engineering Professor Receives $2 Million NSF Grant to Explore Polymer Recycling Technologies

https://www.ou.edu/insideou/articles/2020/december/engineering-professor-receives-2-million-nsf-grant-to-explore-polymer-recycling-technologies

Steven Crossley, associate professor at the University of Oklahoma School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering, has been awarded a four-year, $2 million collaborative grant by the Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program of the National Science Foundation to advance polymer recycling technologies in hopes of sending less multi-layer plastics to landfills

Not all plastics are created equally – from milk jugs and soda bottles, which are readily recyclable, to multi-layered packaging that increases shelf life and requires less material but is less recyclable – the challenge is for researchers to design a process that allows more of the plastics we use in our everyday lives to end up in our recycle bins rather than the local landfill. But not only does this require scientists to design innovative ways to break down these various types of plastic, it also must be economical for the plastic producers and recyclers.

Impurities, such as food and drink in the bottom of a plastic container, is another challenge scientists face in the recycling process. These contaminants are difficult to eliminate, and once melted down, degrade the quality of the recycled material.

“But, what if,” Crossley asks, “we could design catalysts that target and convert those impurities to either make them more compatible with the rest of the plastic – or convert them selectively to carbon dioxide or light gases that could easily be removed, producing a pure stream of higher value.”

Crossley’s research group’s efforts will be complemented by computational simulations led by Bin Wang, associate professor, and experimental efforts in a scaled-up continuous system led by Lance Lobban, professor, both in the School of Chemical, Biological and Materials Engineering at the University of Oklahoma.

In addition to the upgrading of mixed plastic waste streams using catalysts, Adam Feltz, associate professor of psychology at OU, will incorporate public perception surveys to determine how best to motivate appropriate public participation in plastic waste collection systems.

The project includes an outreach component for underrepresented and middle and high school students to attend a summer camp, led by Lobban.

Crossley, a registered Native American and faculty advisor to OU’s American Indian Science and Engineering Society chapter, will also involve underrepresented undergraduate students in the research during the course of the project. Christos Maravelias, professor of chemical and biological engineering at Princeton University, and his team will focus on modeling of economic scenarios. These cost estimates will be invaluable as the project evaluates fiscal efficiencies of these potential new processes.


View NSF video below highlighting Crossley’s research. youtu.be

About NSF EFRI Program

According to their website, the Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation program of the NSF Directorate for Engineering (ENG) serves a critical role in helping ENG focus on important emerging areas in a timely manner. EFRI seeks proposals with transformative ideas that represent an opportunity for a significant shift in fundamental engineering knowledge with a strong potential for long-term impact on national needs or a grand challenge.

This article was originally published by the Gallogly College of Engineering.

Article Published: Wednesday, December 2, 2020

ou.edu

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From: scion2/17/2021 8:38:22 AM
   of 704
 
DOE releases Plastics Innovation Challenge Draft RoadmapThe DOE is seeking stakeholder input on the draft roadmap by March 1.



© BKhamitsevich - istockphoto.com
DOE releases Plastics Innovation Challenge Draft RoadmapThe DOE is seeking stakeholder input on the draft roadmap by March 1.

SUBSCRIBE

February 12, 2021
Posted by Megan Smalley

Legislation & Regulations Plastics

In late January, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) released its Plastics Innovation Challenge Draft Roadmap and a request for information (RFI) seeking stakeholder input on the draft.

Announced in November 2019, the DOE’s Plastics Innovation Challenge is a program aimed at accelerating innovations in energy-efficient plastics recycling technologies. According to a news release from the DOE, the Plastics Innovation Challenge will better position the U.S. as a “leader in design and implementation of advanced plastics recycling technologies and in the manufacture of new plastics that are recyclable by design.”

“The Plastics Innovation Challenge leverages the extensive expertise and capabilities of the Department of Energy and our National Labs to think beyond the status quo and make a real impact in addressing our plastic waste issues,” says Deputy Secretary of Energy Mark W. Menezes. “Our stakeholders are an essential source of valuable direction, and we ask for their feedback as we pursue solutions for issues that affect us all.”

The DOE says its Plastics Innovation Challenge aims to make domestic processing of plastic materials economically viable and energy efficient, develop new and improved plastic materials lacking the same end-of-life concerns as incumbent materials and ultimately reduce plastic scrap accumulation.

The DOE reports that the following four strategic goals define the scope of the Plastics Innovation Challenge:

deconstruction -- develop biological and chemical methods for deconstructing end-of-life plastics into useful chemicals;upcycling -- develop technologies to upcycle end-of-life chemical streams into higher-value products, encouraging increased recycling;recycle by design - design new, renewable plastics and bioplastics that have the properties of today’s plastics, are easily upcycled and can be manufactured at scale domestically; andscale and deploy -- support an energy- and material-efficient domestic plastics supply chain by helping companies scale and deploy new technologies in domestic and global markets while improving existing recycling technologies such as collection, sorting and mechanical recycling.The Plastics Innovation Challenge Draft Roadmap identifies key research needs and opportunities for DOE-sponsored research and development. It identifies both challenges and opportunities across thermal, chemical, biological and physical recycling and upcycling methods, as well as material design strategies for recyclability. DOE says it provides an overview of problems with plastic scrap, including the limits of current recycling technologies. It also identifies the initiative’s 2030 vision, mission, strategic goals and objectives.

DOE offices involved in this effort include the Offices of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Science, and Fossil Energy and the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy. DOE says this roadmap will guide DOE efforts to meet the Plastics Innovation Challenge 2030 goals by providing alignment within DOE, a framework to focus on select strategies for managing plastic waste and research directions at every level of technical maturity.

In addition to the Draft Roadmap, DOE released an associated RFI. The DOE wants to solicit feedback from stakeholders to ensure the Plastics Innovation Challenge “is optimally positioned to address opportunities and challenges for the discovery, development and deployment of technologies for plastic waste management and reduction.” Responses to the RFI are due March 1.

More information on the Draft Roadmap and the RFI can be found here.

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