Grant Award will Fund an Innovative New Pathway for Multi-layer Plastic Packaging Circularity RD&D Partnership Project includes Braskem America, University of Massachusetts Lowell, Dow Chemical, and Aquapak
Braskem ("Company"), the largest polyolefins producer in the Americas and leading producer of biopolymers in the world, today announced its polymer recycling technology research partnership has been awarded a $671,000 Research, Demonstration, and Development (RD&D) grant from the Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute, a public-private partnership established by the United States Department of Energy (DOE). The winning RD&D project is focused on new advanced manufacturing technology to produce sustainable and recyclable multilayer plastic films with outstanding properties for challenging applications. The project is a partnership between Braskem America, the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Dow Chemical, and Aquapak, all of which are providing additional foundational project funding. REMADE is the first institute in the U.S. dedicated to accelerating the nation's transition to a Circular Economy.
"Braskem is honored to have been selected among this partnership of incredibly talented innovators who are all committed to having a positive impact on our planet and our industry," said Amanda Zani, Technology Platform Manager, Braskem. "As a leading producer of advanced polymer solutions in the United States, with a commitment to significantly expanding the availability of sustainably focused offerings, Braskem firmly believes that this project has incredible potential for advancing our commitment to a more circular economy, which also includes Design for Recycling technology."
Braskem RD&D Partnership Project Awarded Funding by REMADE
Remaking of Recyclable Multilayer Barrier Films
- This research project seeks to develop new technologies such as a unique poly(vinyl alcohol) (PVOH) polymer, ultrasound-assisted extrusion, and water-based material separation to create high-performance films that are easily separable. In collaboration with material suppliers, the University of Massachusetts Lowell aims to reduce packaging material consumption and bolster recycling efforts. The two-year project's deliverables include processing protocols for recyclable films and separation methods via aqueous dissolution. This project positions to reshape the packaging industry's economic landscape by facilitating 100% material recovery.
Meg Sobkowicz Kline, University of Massachusetts Lowell Professor in the Plastics Engineering Department commented, "Our advanced film processing and recovery approach will enable low-cost separation and recovery of film components for more circular packaging. We are excited to work with Braskem and other industry partners to deliver these high-barrier multilayer films with inherent recycling advantages. It is critical that major materials suppliers and converters support and participate in this research so that innovations can be rapidly translated to industry."
The project is well aligned with Braskem's ambition to expand its portfolio to include 300,000 tons of thermoplastic resins and chemicals with recycled content by 2025 and 1 million tons of such products by 2030. In addition, Braskem seeks to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in scopes 1 and 2 by 15% in 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.
The REMADE Institute enables the early-stage applied research and development of key industrial platform technologies that could dramatically reduce the embodied energy and carbon emissions associated with industrial-scale materials production and processing. By focusing its efforts on the technical and economic barriers that prevent greater material recycling, recovery, remanufacturing, and reuse, the REMADE Institute seeks to motivate industry investments to advance technology development and support the U.S. manufacturing eco-system. The U.S. Department of Energy and REMADE selected 14 projects in October 2023 with a combined total of $9.8M in research and development funding. Since the Institute's founding in 2017, REMADE has launched or selected nearly 100 R&D projects, representing a total combined value of nearly $100M.
The circular economy is a sustainable model that aims to minimize waste by keeping resources in use for as long as possible, extracting their maximum value while in use, and then recovering and regenerating products and materials at the end of a resource's life cycle. Not only does this reduce environmental impact, but it also offers new business opportunities and economic benefits, supporting innovation, job creation, and global competitiveness.
REMADE funded research projects seek to innovate industrial-scale materials production and processing, achieving multiple positive impacts among the following Target Technical Performance Metrics (TPMs), including:
- Reducing primary feedstock consumed
- Reducing secondary feedstock energy
- Increasing embodied energy efficiency
- Reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions
- Facilitating cross-industry reuse
- Balancing cost and energy party
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, manufacturing accounts for 25% of U.S. energy consumption at a cost of approximately $150B. 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%. By embracing the circular economy, REMADE's investments ensure that America's manufacturing sector remains globally competitive while moving the nation closer to meeting the clean energy goals set forth by the Biden-Harris Administration including achieving a net-zero-emissions economy by 2050.
Detailed information on all REMADE projects can be found at www.remadeinstitute.org.