Virginia Tech is the recipient of a REMADE Institute grant that will support a contamination removal technology for paper recycling. | Andriy Blokhin/Shutterstock

A federally backed research institute has awarded nearly $10 million to projects supporting remanufacturing and recycling, with particularly heavy sums focused on plastics. 

The Reducing Embodied Energy and Decreasing Emissions (REMADE) Institute, a public-private initiative supported by the U.S. Department of Energy, will award $9.8 million in R&D grants to 14 projects, according to a press release

Nearly $4.8 million, or almost half of the total monetary award sum, went to projects focused on chemically recycling plastic, redesigning plastic packaging, sorting plastics or improving PCR quality. The following were the projects, organized by material types/subject and REMADE grant award amount:  


$526,000: “In-plant testing of the novel methods of separating water-based inks and stickies from spent paper fibers,” a project by Virginia Tech in partnership with Thiele Kaolin.


$900,000: “Commercial removal of Fe and Mn from molten aluminum scrap melts,” a project by Phinix LLC in partnership with WPI, Kingston Process Metallurgy, Smelter Services Corporation, Audubon Metals, Real Alloys and Spectro Alloys Corp. In August, Resource Recycling wrote about a licensing deal Phinix signed for its aluminum contamination removal process.


$1.5 million: “Pilot plant demonstration of plastic upcycling for the production of sustainable petrochemical alternatives,” a project by Aeternal Upcycling in partnership with Inter-Rail Systems and Argonne National Laboratory. A story detailing this technology will be published in this week’s Plastics Recycling Update. 

$1.28 million: “Novel, transient, thermal barcode system for highly accurate, high-speed, automated plastics sorting,” a project by the University of Buffalo.

$671,000: “Remaking of recyclable multilayer barrier films,” a project by the University of Massachusetts-Lowell in partnership with Braskem, Dow Chemical and AquaPak. 

$600,000: “Demonstration of solvent-based plastic recycling to extract pure PP from PCR,” a project by Michigan Tech University in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Braskem America. 

$504,000: “Dynamic crosslinking to produce secondary feedstock from recycled EVA as a sustainable solution for footwear,” a project by Braskem America in partnership with Adidas, Allbirds and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). 

$200,000: “Design for recycling: All-polyolefin multilayer flexible packaging,” a project by Michigan Tech University in partnership with Amcor Global.

Multi-materials sorting  

$1.25 million: “Low resource autonomous waste sorting system to optimize sustainable collection,” a project by rStream Recycling in partnership with D&K Engineering.


$532,000: “Advancing the sorting of textiles for recycling,” a project of the University of Buffalo in partnership with Accelerating Circularity, AMP Robotics and Ambercycle. 


$400,000: “Prototype performance demonstration on end-user duty cycles for tires built with large reincorporation of recycled materials,” a project by Michelin North America in partnership with Argonne National Laboratory.


$578,000: “Image based machine learning for component identification for remanufacturing,” a project led by RIT in partnership with CoreCentric Solutions, Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), Kingston Process Metallurgy, Smelter Services Corp, Audubon Metals, Real Alloys and Spectro Alloys Corp. 

$525,000: “Machine learning for hybrid and electric vehicle battery prognostics,” a project by A3 Global in partnership with Northeastern University.

$336,000: “Implementation of low heat repair CMT for cast iron,” a project by the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) in partnership with John Deere Remanufacturing.

This was the 6th funding round for REMADE, which was founded in 2017 with an initial investment of $140 million. The request for proposals for the 6th round was released in February.

Resource Recycling covered prior award rounds in July 2018 ($10 million awarded total), May 2019 ($6 million), August 2020 ($6 million) March 2021 ($43 million), and December 2021 ($33 million). 

More stories about research