- Energy Infrastructure
Reserved for Energy
This three-phase competition is designed to develop innovative ways to extend the lifetimes of products or parts via re-using, repairing, refurbishing, remanufacturing, or repurposing (“Re-X”) before recycling.
By stimulating innovation and private investment in circular economy approaches, the innovations developed through this prize will reduce life cycle energy and emissions, strengthen circular supply chains for emerging clean energy technologies, and decrease the demand for virgin materials.
Innovations that enable new or expanded Re-X supply chains can also engage communities and labor, advance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility (DEIA), and support the implementation of the White House Justice40 initiative. In addition, this prize will further the Biden-Harris Administration’s clean energy goal of achieving net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
Today, the U.S. manufacturing sector predominantly follows a linear model of production in which raw materials are mined, transformed into manufactured goods, used, and discarded. To fully decarbonize the U.S. economy, the country must create new, circular supply chains to keep materials in use beyond a single life cycle. And while recycling plays an important role in this circular economy, approaches that extend the lifetimes of goods could save more energy and emissions over time than recycling alone.
That’s why DOE’s Advanced Materials and Manufacturing Technologies Office launched the three-phase Re-X Before Recycling Prize. The prize is looking for innovations that could keep materials in use beyond a single life cycle and increase the recovery and reuse rate of end-of-use products. Extending the lifecycles of these products reduces the embodied energy and carbon of manufactured goods, strengthens regional manufacturing supply chains, increases U.S. security of supply, create jobs, and reduces environmental burdens related to landfilling, incineration, and extraction.
Circular supply chains are complex with diverse value propositions, in part because end-of-use product stream compositions vary by region and over time. The prize is designed to support competitors to overcome these difficulties and help the country transition from a linear to a more circular economy, region by region.
The Re-X Before Recycling Prize invites competitors to work on one of two categories: established or emerging waste streams. Learn more about the types of innovations of interest to the Re-X Before Recycling Prize in the official prize rules.
The Re-X Before Recycling Prize has three phases that will run from 2023 to 2025. During Phase 1, also called Identify!, competitors will identify new or expanded circular supply chain opportunities and the innovations needed to realize them and deliver community benefits. During Phase 2, called Prepare!, competitors will prepare to develop their innovation. During the final Phase 3, Develop!, competitors will continue to advance their idea toward implementation.
Phase 1: Identify!
In Phase 1, teams will identify a new or expanded Re-X supply chain opportunity including its potential community benefits and create a plan. Up to 20 winners will receive $50,000 in cash. Winners will also receive consulting support from a national laboratory (worth up to $5,000) to identify analysis that could help maximize their idea’s potential impact and benefits.
Phase 2: Prepare!
In Phase 2, which is open to new competitors, as well as participants from Phase 1, teams will further advance their idea and plan. Up to 10 winners will receive $150,000 in cash and up to $100,000 in technical assistance for analysis from a national laboratory that could inform enhancements to increase the idea’s impacts and benefits.
Phase 3: Develop!
Phase 3 is only open to selected winners from Phase 2. Phase 3 winners will demonstrate substantial progress towards implementing their innovation in a viable Re-X supply chain that will continue beyond the prize period. Up to four winning teams will receive $500,000 in cash.