Critical Materials, Electronics Scrap, and Supercomputers—Oh My!

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The U.S. Department of Energy Office of Energy Efficiency & Renewable Energy Advanced Materials & Manufacturing Technologies Office logoDivider

March 20, 2024

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Reach out to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office (AMMTO) at with any manufacturing musings.

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Welcome to the Manufacturing Moment, a monthly dose of advanced manufacturing updates hot off the factory floor.

This month’s newsletter includes upcoming deadlines, project and program highlights, events to join, news you may have missed, and job openings.

Estimated reading time: 5 minutes.

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Upcoming Deadlines

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Back to Class: Critical Materials 101 Video Series

In partnership with DOE’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, AMMTO is proud to share the first of our five-part Critical Materials 101 video series! What’s So Critical About Critical Materials? dives into why these materials are mission-critical to America’s clean energy future. Curious about the “electric 18” and the work being done to shore up these essential elements? The video illuminates how they were determined to be critical and what clean energy technologies they make up. It touches on the supply and demand challenges and what research is being done around the department to mitigate them.

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Watch the short video on YouTube!

New DOE Prize Tackles Electronic Waste, Securing Critical Materials for Clean Energy

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Earlier this month, DOE launched the Electronics Scrap Recycling Advancement Prize (E-SCRAP), a new competition that aims to address the growing global issue of electronic waste and build a secure domestic supply chain for critical materials necessary for clean energy. The competition will award up to $4 million to competitors to substantially increase the production and use of critical materials recovered from electronic scrap—or e-scrap. E-scrap—which includes mobile phones, home appliances, medical or office equipment, and anything else powered by electricity—represents the fastest growing waste stream globally, increasing three times faster than the world population. For more information, register for the March 27, 2024, E-SCRAP webinar.

World’s Most Powerful Computers Advancing Clean Energy

Last week, DOE announced $5.2 million in funding to 13 projects through its High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation Program, which capitalizes on our nation’s world-class supercomputers to advance performance, efficiency, and vitality of the U.S. manufacturing sector and drive economywide decarbonization. Selected projects will collaborate with DOE’s national laboratories to apply advanced modeling, simulation, and data analysis that improves manufacturing performance and explores new materials for clean energy applications.

Leading International Composites Show Highlights AMMTO Efforts

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Earlier this month, the annual JEC World show took place in Paris, France, bringing together the whole value chain of the composites materials industry, including academics, scientists, R&D leaders, global companies, and innovative startups. AMMTO’s Technology Manager John Winkel was there to present AMMTO-funded projects in the composites space and learn how our R&D fits within a global context to better align our efforts with industry needs and look for areas of possible collaboration. U.S. Ambassador to France Denise Bauer opened the U.S. Pavilion and stopped by the AMMTO-funded Institute for Advanced Composites Manufacturing Innovation booth.

The North Face Taps BOTTLE Consortium to Scale Biodegradable Polyester Alternative

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Scientists at DOE’s Bio-Optimized Technologies to keep Thermoplastics out of Landfills and the Environment (BOTTLE) consortium have been developing an innovative solution to address a growing environmental and public health hazard – microplastic pollution from worn clothing. Over time and use, clothing sheds, dispersing tiny fibers, often made of polyester that by some estimates accounts for nearly half of all microplastics in the natural environment. BOTTLE scientists, led by Chief Technology Officer Katrina Knauer, has been looking to address this issue by replacing today’s petroleum-derived polyester with a nontoxic, biodegradable alternative made from polyhydroxyalkanoates, or PHAs for short. And now, in a collaboration with The North Face, the BOTTLE team is weaving those sustainable materials into the outdoor apparel market.

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Upcoming Events

April 10–11, 2024: REMADE Circular Economy Technology Summit & Conference   

Registration is now open for the REMADE Institute’s 2024 Circular Economy Conference at the National Academy for Sciences Building in Washington, D.C. The institute’s inaugural 2023 event attracted more than 300 attendees from academia and industry across the country and around the world. The event also featured presentations on nearly 60 peer-reviewed research papers.   

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In Case You Missed It

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Job Openings

EERE Is Hiring - AMMTO

If you are passionate about improving energy and material efficiency and American manufacturing competitiveness, consider applying to join us.

We are currently hiring for the following position: