Navigation Links
Recycling the next generation
Date:5/7/2014

Germans consume about 200 kilograms of raw materials per person each day according to the Federal Ministry of the Environment (Umweltbundesamt). Which means Germans are in first place. This not only damages the environment it is also dangerous for Germany's international competiveness. As a country poor in raw materials, Germany must commit to comprehensive resource conservation. New and efficient recycling methods are one option by which to become more independent of imported raw materials that are expensive and in short supply. Fraunhofer experts have established important principles for consistent recycling and circular manufacturing in the advanced Molecular Sorting for Resource Efficiency project. They will be presenting new methods at IFAT that facilitate the recycling of precious metals, rare earths, glass, wood, concrete, and also phosphorus.

Recycling 2.0 perfect separation

"The separation processes take place initially at the smallest level required, i.e. we go down to the molecular or even atomic levels," explains the project's coordinator, Professor Jrg Woidasky from the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT in Pfinztal near Karlsruhe, Germany. One example is the bioleaching process being developed and readied for commercial use at the Fraunhofer Institute for Interfacial Engineering and Biotechnology IGB in Stuttgart, Germany. Even small quantities of precious metals or rare earths can be recovered with the technique. The researchers utilize microorganisms to convert insoluble metallic compounds in ores, in combustion slag, or in scrap wood saturated with metallic salts into water-soluble salts. The dissolved metals can subsequently be chemically bound using specialized polymers and thereby selectively removed from the solution. The metals are separated in a third step.

Experts from the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Wrzburg, Germany, are working on a process to extract valuable colorless glass from old plate glass.

Water-white glass ensures maxmal optical transparency and is therefore employed in photovoltaics, fiber-optic cables, and displays. If impurities such as iron are in the glass, its transparency falls. "The growth in the photovoltaics sector is so huge at the moment that neither the sources of iron-free natural raw materials nor the quantities of recycled materials from "used" photovoltaic modules, for example, are sufficient to satisfy the demand for highly transparent plate glass in the coming decades," says Dr. Jrgen Meinhardt from ISC. Conventional plate glass might be an alternative source of raw materials. However, the iron content of this glass is too high. The researchers are developing a process by which iron atoms can be pulled directly out of the liquid glass if heated to about 1500 degrees Celsius.

Reusing scrap wood intelligently

Recycling wood in Germany is still at an infant stage. Up to now, only about 33 percent of the roughly eight million tons of waste wood annually is re-used. One reason for the low recycling rate are the German regulations regarding scrap wood. They prescribe that material coated with organic compounds containing halogens or wood treated with wood preservatives may not be re-used except under very restricted circumstances. New techniques of separation at the molecular level are expected to help matters without jeopardizing the precautions contained in the scrap wood regulations.

In order to be able to recycle more scrap wood, the harmful substances present must be identified. To do this, researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research / Wilhlem Klauditz Institute in Braunschweig, Germany, employed various processes such as near-infrared spectroscopy, X-ray fluorescence analysis and ion mobility spectrometry. Once the harmful substance has been identified, it can also be removed. "Super-critical fluids can be used to clean wood that has been treated with organic wood preservatives. To separate out or concentrate heavy metals, we plan to apply wet chemical processes as well as combustion techniques and pyrolyzation," says Peter Meinlschmidt, a physicist at WKI.

Recycling concrete

Several million tons of building rubble accumulate every year. However, no process for recycling concrete exists yet. Researchers in the Concrete Technology group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP in Holzkirchen, Germany, want to change that. They are working on "electrodynamic fragmentation", a technique by which ultra-short lightning bolts course through the concrete. They have been successful in reducing the concrete into its individual components gravel and cement. An important first step toward recycling old concrete.

Recovering germanium and phosphorus

But valuable materials are not only extracted from solid waste. Flue gases from garbage incinerators likewise contain raw materials. To extract these, researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems IKTS in Dresden, Germany, are developing specialized ceramic filters with which specific component substances in flue gases at temperatures in excess of 850 C are first selectively separated out and then subsequently recovered Germanium, zinc, and even phosphorus, for example.

But do these methods make any sense in a rapidly evolving market environment? The Molecular Sorting project partners have examined this in a study. Their conclusions indicate they do. Recycling at the atomic level will very probably be economically feasible in the future. Not just if it is politically supported, but also as an economically independent business model.


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr.-Ing. Jörg Woidasky
joerg.woidasky@ict.fraunhofer.de
49-721-464-0367
Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Recycling industrial waste water
2. Enlisting cells protein recycling machinery to regulate plant products
3. New textbook tackles the sustainable recycling of manure
4. Historic blaze fueled a boom in tire recycling, advances in fire monitoring
5. Recycling valuable materials used in TVs, car batteries, cell phones
6. Gold nanoparticles give an edge in recycling CO2
7. More emphasis needed on recycling and reuse of Li-ion batteries
8. Blind flies without recycling
9. South Africas Capitec Bank Chooses Diebold Cash Recycling ATMs
10. Humans were already recycling 13,000 years ago
11. UNC researchers link aging to cellular interactions that occur across generations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Recycling the next generation
(Date:4/11/2017)... BEACH GARDENS, Fla. , April 11, 2017 ... identity management and secure authentication solutions, today announced ... contract by Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA) ... for IARPA,s Thor program. "Innovation has ... onset and IARPA,s Thor program will allow us ...
(Date:4/6/2017)... LONDON , April 6, 2017 ... Control, RFID, ANPR, Document Readers, by End-Use (Transportation & ... Energy Facility, Oil, Gas & Fossil Generation Facility, Nuclear ... Healthcare, Educational, Other) Are you looking for ... Authentication sector? ...
(Date:4/4/2017)... YORK , April 4, 2017   EyeLock ... today announced that the United States Patent and Trademark ... patent broadly covers the linking of an iris image ... same transaction) and represents the company,s 45 th ... latest patent is very timely given the multi-modal biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... representations of a complex biological network, a depiction of a system of linkages ... said Dmitry Korkin, PhD, associate professor of computer science at Worcester Polytechnic Institute ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, a global ... industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now be offering ... being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, including the ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... (PRWEB) , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ComplianceOnline’s Medical ... place on 7th and 8th June 2018 in San Francisco, CA. The Summit brings ... well as several distinguished CEOs, board directors and government officials from around the world ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... , ... October 11, 2017 , ... ... the implantation and pregnancy rates in frozen and fresh in vitro fertilization ... progesterone and maternal age to IVF success. , After comparing the results from ...
Breaking Biology Technology: