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N. J Bartie, A. A Llamas, M. Heibeck, M. Fröhling, O. Volkova, and M. A Reuter (2020)

The simulation-based analysis of the resource efficiency of the circular economy–the enabling role of metallurgical infrastructure

Mineral Processing and Extractive Metallurgy: Transactions of the Institute of Mining and Metallurgy, 129:229-249.

Process metallurgy is a key enabler and the heart of the Circular Economy (CE). This paper shows the state-of-the-art approach to understanding the resource efficiency of very large-scale CE systems. Process simulation permits system-wide exergy analysis also linked to environmental footprinting. It is shown that digital twins of large CE systems can be created and their resource efficiencies quantified. This approach provides the basis for detailed estimation of financial expenditures as well as high-impact CE system innovation. The cadmium telluride (CdTe) photovoltaic technology life cycle, which brings several metal infrastructures into play, is studied. The results show that considerable work remains to optimise the CdTe system. Low exergy efficiencies resulting specifically from energy-intensive processes highlight areas with the greatest renewables-based improvement potential. This detail sheds light on the true performance of the CE and the inconvenient truth that it cannot be fully realised but only driven to its thermodynamic limits.

Circular economy, digital twin, exergy, life cycle assessment, metallurgy, photovoltaics, resource efficiency, sustainability

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Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Ulysea S.L. - Informática

The Material Limits of Energy Transition: Thanatia

Antonio Valero Capilla, Alicia Valero Delgado and Guiomar Calvo

This book provides a holistic view of raw mineral depletion in the context of renewable energy transistion.

The material limits Thanatia


Thanatia. Los límites minerales del planeta

mites minerales del planeta

 Antonio Valero Capilla and Alicia Valero Delgado interviewed by Adrián Almazán

We need a material transition, not only energetic, that restores nature and effectively reuses materials. Gaia must be cared for by extending life on Earth and slowing its degradation towards Thanatia.

Thanatia los limites


Thermodynamics for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Cover Thermodynamics

Wojciech Stanek (Editor)

This book examines ways of assessing the rational management of nonrenewable resources. Integrating numerous methods, it systematically exposes the strengths of exergy analysis in resources management.

Thanatia: The Destiny of the Earth's Mineral Resources

Cover Thanatia

A Thermodynamic Cradle-to-Cradle Assessment by (author): Antonio Valero Capilla and Alicia Valero Delgado

Is Gaia becoming Thanatia, a resource exhausted planet? For how long can our high-tech society be sustained in the light of declining mineral ore grades, heavy dependence on un-recycled critical metals and accelerated material dispersion? These are all root causes of future disruptions that need to be addressed today.