ReMade Institute Requests Information to Improve Circular Manufacturing Ideas

by | Jan 21, 2022

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The ReMade Institute has issued a request of information as it seeks to revise its technology road map, which is focused on a circular approach to manufacturing by reducing the use of raw materials, increasing the remanufacturing of recycled and secondary materials, and finding new ways to reuse materials.

The ReMade Institute is a private-public partnership with 141 members that was established in 2017 with a $140 million investment by the United States Department of Energy. Since then, ReMade has invested more than $85.6 million to develop technologies to reduce energy consumption and decrease carbon emissions in manufacturing, including 45 projects in 2021.

The institute says it has focused its efforts and investments on increasing the reuse, remanufacturing, recovering and recycling of four energy-intensive materials: metals, plastics and polymers, fibers and electronic waste.

In addition to these areas, ReMade wants to use the request for information (RFI) to help it figure out how future efforts should be applied to electric vehicles and solar power.

The RFI is open to industry researchers, academia, government and non-profits who are interested in helping transition the US’s manufacturing industry to a more circular approach to operations. ReMade’s technology roadmap was released in 2020.

The institute says that this change in manufacturing is the only way to achieve net zero by 2050.

According to the DOE, manufacturing accounts for a quarter of the US’s energy consumption at a cost of nearly $150 billion. The EPA says industry is the largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in the US at 30%

ReMade CEO Nabil Nasr says that’s why the circular approach of “make-use-reuse-remanufacture-recycle,” is important. Without it, and the reduction of industrial energy consumption and emissions, the US will only get to about 55% of net zero.

As net zero targets increase, the idea of circular production and economy has become one area of focus for industry, businesses and governments. With an idea to limit waste and keep materials in use, other governments are also implementing procedures to support such initiatives, such as the European Union’s Circular Economy Action Plan.

Technologies such as blockchains can be valuable for circular production as they are able to track the uses and types of materials throughout every step of a manufacturing process. More businesses, such as headphone maker Skullcandy, are taking part and making products from all recycled or reused materials.

A $43 million battery recycling plant in Georgia is also in the works that begins to address the growing electric vehicle situation. It will have the capacity to process 30,000 metric tons of discarded lithium-ion batteries and per year and return battery-grade materials back into the supply chain.

ReMade is part of the Manufacturing USA network of 16 manufacturing organizations. It says its members have the ability each year to save more than a quad of energy, reduce 50 million metric tons of greenhouse gases and increase the supply of recycled materials by more than 40 million metric tons.

The institute is seeking responses to the RFI by Feb. 22, 2022.

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