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Markus A Reuter, Antoinette V Schaik, Jens Gutzmer, Neill Bartie, and Alejandro Abadías-Llamas (2019)

Challenges of the Circular Economy: A Material, Metallurgical, and Product Design Perspective

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Circular economy's (CE) noble aims maximize resource efficiency (RE) by, for example, extending product life cycles and using wastes as resources. Modern society's vast and increasing amounts of waste and consumer goods, their complexity, and functional material combinations are challenging the viability of the CE despite various alternative business models promising otherwise. The metallurgical processing of CE-enabling technologies requires a sophisticated and agile metallurgical infrastructure. The challenges of reaching a CE are highlighted in terms of, e.g., thermodynamics, transfer processes, technology platforms, digitalization of the processes of the CE stakeholders, and design for recycling (DfR) based on a product (mineral)-centric approach, highlighting the limitations of material-centric considerations. Integrating product-centric considerations into the water, energy, transport, heavy industry, and other smart grid systems will maximize the RE of future smart sustainable cities, providing the fundamental detail for realizing and innovating the United Nation's Sustainability Development Goals.

circular economy, design for recycling, exergy, process metallurgy, thermoeconomics

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