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Perrine Chancerel, Christina E Meskers, Christian Hagelüken, and Vera S Rotter (2009)

Assessment of precious metal flows during preprocessing of waste electrical and electronic equipment

Journal of Industrial Ecology, 13:791-810.

The manufacturing of electronic and electrical equipment (EEE) is a major demand sector for precious and special metals with a strong growth potential. Both precious and special metals are contained in complex components with only small concentrations per unit. After the use-phase, waste electronic and electrical equipment (WEEE) is an important source of these "trace elements." Their recycling requires appropriate processes in order to cope with the hazardous substances contained inWEEE and to recover efficiently the valuable materials. Although state-of-the-art preprocessing facilities are optimized for recovering mass-relevant materials such as iron and copper, trace elements are often lost. The objective of this article is to show how a substance flow analysis (SFA) on a process level can be used for a holistic approach, covering technical improvement at process scale, optimization of product life cycles, and contributing to knowledge on economy-wide material cycles. An SFA in a full-scale preprocessing facility shows that only 11.5 wt.% of the silver and 25.6 wt.% of the gold and of the palladium reach output fractions from which they may potentially be recovered. For copper this percentage is 60. Considering the environmental rucksack of precious metals, an improvement of the recycling chain would significantly contribute to the optimization of the product life cycle impact of EEE and to ensuring the long-term supply of precious metals. ©2009 by Yale University.

Industrial ecology, Printed circuit board (PCB), Recycling, Resource recovery, Substance flow analysis (SFA), Waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE)

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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.