Limited Submission Opportunity – Department of Energy CHEMICAL UPCYCLING OF POLYMERS

Internal Notification of Interest Deadline to the Office of Research Administration: Friday, Februdary 26, 2021, 5:00 pm.

DOE Preproposal Submission Deadline: March 10, 2021

Full Proposal Submission Deadline: May 12, 2021

Summary of the Program:

The DOE SC program in Basic Energy Sciences (BES) announces its interest in receiving
applications on behalf of single investigators and teams of investigators, which may involve
multiple institutions, to support fundamental experimental and theoretical efforts that advance chemical upcycling of polymers and circular design of next-generation plastics. The term “plastic” describes a wide array of polymeric materials with diverse compositions and properties. Finished plastic products may include multiple polymeric components and often contain additives to obtain desirable physical, chemical, or mechanical properties. Understanding of chemical approaches that make use of end-of-life plastic products as feedstocks to regenerate the same product, or otherwise upcycle them to new, more valuable products, is limited. BES seeks innovative fundamental research that creates the scientific foundations for new technology solutions to reduce plastic waste, lower the energy impacts of plastic production through chemical upcycling, and create energy- and carbon-efficient feedstocks for valuable products
through chemical upcycling of polymers.

This FOA emphasizes cross-cutting, fundamental research in the following areas:

  • Discovery and design of new chemical pathways to deconstruct synthetic polymeric
    materials efficiently and selectively into useful chemical intermediates or to functionalize
    existing polymers to provide new, materials with improved properties.
  • Detailed molecular-level mechanistic understanding of macromolecular conversions of
    polymers to materials or chemical intermediates for upcycled products from plastics, such
    as deconstruction and reassembly of polymers, controlled functionalization of single
    polymers feeds or selective reaction of single polymer classes in mixed plastic streams,
    compatibilization of mixed polymers, and similar chemical transformations leading to
    upcycled products.
  • Co-design of materials and chemical processes, coupling aspects of plastics construction,
    use, disassembly, and reassembly to maximize energy efficiency. This includes design
    and synthesis of new polymers for materials with similar or improved properties relative
    to current plastics that can be upcycled either in closed loops (recreating the starting
    material) or in cascades of processes producing series of different products that
    significantly extend the useful lifetime of the carbon building blocks of polymers.
  • Novel approaches for efficiently delivering the energy required to drive specific chemical
    transformations and enable both energy- and carbon-efficient plastics upcycling. This
    may include strategies that use electro-, photo-, and photo(electro)chemical approaches,
    or that couple these inputs to thermal processes.
  • Development of next-generation tools to probe macromolecular transformations and/or to
    understand polymer-catalyst interactions and behavior that drive conversion and
    selectivity during upcycling processes. This includes experimental, computational, and
    data science approaches, and their integration, to gain insights into mechanisms of
    materials and macromolecular transformations.

Limit on the Number of Proposals per Organization:

Applicant institutions are limited to no more than 2 pre-applications and applications. There is no limit on the number of pre-applications on which an institution may appear as a partner (not the lead institution).
An individual is limited to be named as the Lead PI on no more than 1 submission.
• Pre-applications in excess of the limited number of submissions will be discouraged.
• Applications in excess of the limited number of submissions will be declined without review

For full details on this program, please visit the page.

For additional details regarding The University of Akron’s limited submission process, visit the ORA Limited Submission webpage.

If you are interested in submitting a DOE proposal, please visit the ORA Limited Submission webpage and complete step 1: Notification of Interest, by the deadline above.

  • Individuals interested in applying to a limited submission program must submit a Notification of Interest no later than 5pm on the internal deadline. To submit this notification applicants must email (cc’ing with the subject line of the email formatted as follows: “Last name, First name; Limited Submission Notification of Interest”. Notifications will be emailed, and applicants will either be approved to apply or will be prompted to provide a white paper.
  • If ORA receives internal notices of interest in excess of the NSF limit on the number of proposals per organization, an internal competition will be necessary and additional information will be sent to those who submitted a notice of interest.