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UK companies lead EU research on efficiency
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Published on 04-11-13 

UK research and innovation SMEs or universities lead five out of 14 new EU research projects on efficiency. Each project addresses a key issue such as reusing discarded automobile tyres, recovering key elements from batteries, producing high-value materials from food waste or aluminium scrap and finally sorting out recycled light bulbs.

    UK companies lead EU research on efficiency

    The Chester company C-Tech Innovation leads the group with two projects. Sheffield University, the Centre for process innovation in Redcar and Cambridge-based TWI are the other three coordinators. The funding ranges from GBP 1.4 to GBP 3.2 million with a total budget for the 14 projects GBP 34 million. The funds come from the 2013 Environment call of the EU’s Seventh Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7). The projects involve 140 partners from 19 European countries.

    Summaries of the projects coordinated by UK companies: 


    Innovative Reuse of All Tyre Components in Concrete, EU budget contribution: GBP2.6 million (€ 3.12 million), Project coordinator: The University of Sheffield.

    At the moment nearly 50% of all recycled tyres/components still end up as fuel, in low grade applications or in landfill. All tyre constituents (rubber, high strength steel cord and wire, high strength textile reinforcement) are high quality materials and deserve to be reused for their relevant properties. The aim of this project is to develop innovative solutions to reuse all tyre components in high value innovative concrete applications with reduced environmental impact. For instance, construction is the highest user of materials with concrete being the most popular structural material. Concrete is inherently brittle in compression (unless suitably confined) and weak in tension and, hence, it is normally reinforced with steel bars or fibres.


    Innovative plasma based transformation of food waste into high value graphitic carbon and renewable hydrogen, EU budget contribution: GBP 3.2 million (€3.78 million), Project coordinator: Centre for Process Innovation Limited, Redcar.

    140 million tonnes of food and plant waste is produced annually in Europe. PlasCarb aims to transform this into high value graphitic carbon and renewable hydrogen. The vast majority of hydrogen and carbon used today in industry are derived from fossil petroleum sources, the majority of which are imported into the EU from regions which are often politically unstable or competitive. 


    High Shear Processing of Recycled Aluminium Scrap for Manufacturing High Performance Aluminium Alloys, EU budget contribution: GBP 2.1 million (€2.40 million), Project coordinator: TWI Limited, Cambridge.

    Secondary aluminium (post-consumer scrap) previously downgraded into low quality cast products, or exported, could now be transformed into a low cost, low carbon feedstock for wrought product and high quality castings by the adoption of the innovative technology. The project aims to design and manufacture a prototype small industrial-scale unit and then with the help of economic modelling analyse the costs of the process, the energy savings and the carbon footprint impact.


    Cobalt and lanthanide recovery from batteries, EU budget contribution: GBP 3 million (€3.59 million), Project coordinator: C-Tech Innovation Limited, Chester.

    The COLABATS project will provide new industrial processes for the recycling of the critical metals Cobalt and Lanthanides and key economic metals Nickel and Lithium, from waste batteries, significantly improving recycling efficiencies and metal purity from existing recovery routes. These batteries are found in everyday consumer products such as mobile phones, portable media players, etc., as well as other industrial equipment, and are prevalent in hybrid and electric vehicles, which are becoming increasingly widespread on our roads.


    Automated Sorting and Recycling of Waste Lamps, EU budget contribution: GBP 1.4 million (€ 1.77 million), Project coordinator: C-Tech Innovation Limited, Chester.

    The concept of the ILLUMINATE proposal is to develop automated systems that are able to effectively sort bulbs into different classes and remove foreign objects. This is essential for an economically viable process. An automated, sealed sorting unit will be created. It will be based on a sensor system combined with self-learning processing unit and will be able to recognize shapes, colours materials, and/or weight. To remedy the current situation where there is little or no separation of mercury containing from non-mercury containing materials from bulbs at end of life, the ILLUMINATE project will develop methods and processes for two main areas of the supply chain: collection of the waste streams and sorting of the waste.

    Please note: all amounts expressed in sterling are for information purposes only

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