An ambitious new project called Innovative Recycling Processes for Electronic Waste (IRVE) aims to overhaul the commercial recycling processes used to recover valuable metal and plastic components from e-waste. The project is spearheaded by Technische Universität Aschaffenburg, the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies (Fraunhofer IWKS), and industrial partners Sesotec and Mairec.
IRVE looks at two different possible solutions. The first is to implement sensors to assess the waste, and then use algorithms to identify components containing valuable materials. The second uses electrohydraulic fragmentation, a process based on shock waves, to target weak spots in the materials to break them down. Automatic sorting then separates the materials into individual components.
The IRVE project was launched as a means of creating a more resource efficient economy in Bavaria, and is part of the Bavarian State Government’s seven-point plan released in July 2018.