Welcome to the Exergoecology Portal
You are here: Home / Resources / Exergoecology bibliography / A recycling process for thermoelectric devices developed with the support of statistical entropy analysis

O. Velázquez-Martinez, A. Kontomichalou, A. Santasalo-Aarnio, M. Reuter, A. J Karttunen, M. Karppinen, and R. Serna-Guerrero (2020)

A recycling process for thermoelectric devices developed with the support of statistical entropy analysis

Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 159.

Thermoelectric devices (TEDs) are solid-state devices capable of converting a temperature gradient into electric power. Due to their robust physical composition, the importance of TEDs has increased recently as their applications have broadened from the aerospace industry to the recovery of waste energy from heat sources. As a consequence, an increase in their consumption and future disposal is expected. Nowadays, there is no recycling process designed for TEDs, thus representing an open-loop stream of end-of-life products, which results in the loss of valuable materials. This work aims to address this future problem. Hereby, commercial thermoelectric devices were mechanically processed and characterised. With the experimental results thus produced, statistical entropy analysis was performed to propose a suitable recycling process. Three different mechanical processing systems are compared by their liberation and concentration efficiencies. Based on the final values of statistical entropy, a final mechanical processing system is proposed consisting of grinding in a ring mill, followed by sieving with 3350 µm and 1000 µm openings. Furthermore, the characterization results suggest the possible addition of a dense media separation step to enrich the different material present in the fraction <1000 µm. The recommended system achieves a significant entropy reduction of Cu and separation of plastics from ceramics and semiconductors in only four steps. The final recoveries are TED components that may be suitable for metal refinement by other metallurgical means.

Circular economy, Recycling, Statistical entropy analysis, Thermoelectric devices

Document Actions


Please subscribe for the new newsletter.

Logo instituto Circe
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.