Recycling

The rising global population and a worldwide increase in living standards will cause a huge increase in the demand for metals. As such the need to recycle and recover materials from waste is greater than ever before, and one of the greatest global challenges challenges. SELFRAG recycling presents a solution, with our Lab system being increasingly used to demonstrate the potential for separation and recovery of modern waste including high tech concrete and electronic waste, and our Scoria liberating metals from waste materials and providing value for our clients.

SELFRAG strives towards making a circular economy a reality and supports the Ellen MacArthur Foundation through the development of new recycling technologies.

 

 

Every year, millions of tons of municipal waste are burned in incinerator plants which use wet extraction methods. The remaining material after combustion is dominated by melting products and ash, which have economically interesting metal contents. The wet and soft slag is difficult to process with conventional technologies, which results in a reduced metal recovery and high costs for landfill.

SELFRAG technology can be used immediately after wet extraction to increase metal recovery and decrease waste to landfill, leading to clean fractions of magnetic and metallic components, glass, ceramics and melting products (slags). Our flagship plant was opened as part of the SAIDEF waste to energy plant in Fribourg Switzerland.

The economic benefits of Selfrag treatment of IBA are:

• Improved metal recovery in all size fractions, including material below 2 mm.
• Reduction of environmental risk by removal of sulphates and chlorites.
• Increase lifetime of landfill.
• Reduction of costs of landfill by recovering an inert fraction from melting products.
• Upgrade of material from waste to a product.

 

Reusable materials recovered from IBA after SELFRAG treatment

Liberated material streams after Selfrag fragmentation of IBA: Top: Ferrous metal; Middle: Non- ferrous metals; Bottom: Coarse ceramic

 

Improved length of recovered fibres

Many high tech materials involve fibres bound by polymers, which are hard to recycle without dramatically reducing the strength of the material. SELFRAG equipment provides a solution as the selectivity of the high voltage discharges is able to separate fibre from polymer, while retaining the length of fibres, which means a stronger recycled product.

Carbon fibre, fibre reinforced plastics and cements all show the same response to high voltage treatment and give a higher quality product than traditional mechanical crushing, allowing greater re use of materials.

Fibre length comparison between fibres recovered from mechanical and SELFRAG high voltage treatment

a) Virgin fibre; b) SELFRAG treated fibres after 500 pulses; c) SELFRAG treated fibres after 2000 pulses; d) mechanically recovered fibres

Increased availability of consumer electronics has created a new waste stream that grows larger every year. The recycling industry faces the challenge of needing to recover as much material from this waste as possible. High voltage pulses are excellent at separating one material from another and can offer an advantage in the recovery of metals from electronic waste. 

This iPhone was treated with 100 pulses in the Lab system which took 20 seconds to break apart the iPhone into separate components. 

 

 

Clockwise from top right: iPhone3; Metallic components which have been separated from the other components, but cannot be broken further; fragmented glass and ceramic components; plastic rich components that have been separated. This fraction can be re-treated to further separate components.