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Argonne National Laboratory

Science for a Circular Economy

Drawing upon its multidisciplinary teams, world-class facilities, research tools and strategic partnerships, Argonne National Laboratory is pursuing new pathways that will lead to a circular economy of reuse, recovery, redesign, reduction in resource utilization and recycling. 

The long-term sustainability of our planet demands a major societal shift: from a linear economy, where goods are discarded after use, to a circular economy, where the entire lifecycle is considered at time of design, and resources in waste streams are routinely reused in ways not possible today. Argonne is well positioned to address challenges central to facilitate this shift and will build on our record of success with 

  • battery recycling, 
  • polymer upcycling, 
  • reduction of the environmental impact of waste plastics, 
  • analysis of supply-chain and life-cycle and environmental impact, 
  • development of methods for carbon dioxide capture and utilization and 
  • design of catalysts with reduced use of precious metals. 

Other areas of focus include microelectronic heterostructures and quantum materials appropriate for a circular economy. 

Argonne is well positioned to help usher in a circular economy by tapping into our world-class materials and chemistry expertise, analytical capabilities at the Advanced Photon Source (APS), high-performance computing at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF), nanoscience and nanotechnology capabilities at the Center for Nanoscale Materials (CNM) and scale-up capabilities at Argonne’s Materials Engineering Research Facility. The APS, ALCF and CNM are U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science user facilities at Argonne.