The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has announced that its program designed to produce strategic materials and chemicals from feedstock is entering its second phase to further test novel approaches to waste conversion.
DARPA said Monday that the ReSource program is aimed at producing systems that convert mixed waste, such as common plastics, into potable water, food, chemical lubricants and other products that can be used during times of shortages.
During the first phase, teams from Battelle, Iowa State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Michigan Technological University demonstrated their processes of breaking down waste materials, reassembling organic molecules into chemicals and retrieving purified products.
DARPA said the second phase of the program will focus on engineering versatile systems capable of processing larger number of products with lower energy input.
Blake Bextine, ReSource program manager at DARPA’s Biological Technologies Office, said the initiative is intended to reduce the U.S. military’s use of plastics while supporting humanitarian relief efforts in resource-limited environments.