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Innovative approaches to recycling of small and electric motors from end-of-life vehicles, electric bicycles and industrial machinery
KTH, School of Architecture and the Built Environment (ABE), Sustainable development, Environmental science and Engineering, Industrial Ecology.
2016 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Recycling and recovery of materials and energy from waste is a key factor to mitigate virgin material demands and reduce resource consumption by utilising waste as a resource for new products. However, some critical materials, such as neodymium, are barely recycled because of missing information on amount and disposition of these critical materials within the waste streams. The goal of the study is to quantify recycling potentials from small and electric motors originating from end-of-life vehicles (ELV), electric bicycles and industrial machinery in Germany and the EU with focus on currently lost rare earth elements. Furthermore, innovative approaches to improve recycling of these motors shall be investigated. Therefore, a calculation model to predict current and future waste streams and the incorporated recycling potentials has been developed. The results show an increasing trend of recycling potentials from small and electric motors for all waste streams. The recycling potential of neodymium is estimated at a range of 150 t to 240 t in 2020 in Germany. However, data inaccuracy and the calculation model are likely to cause overestimation of actually available recycling potential and have to be interpreted carefully. In conclusion, disassembly of small and electric motors from ELV and electric bicycles in combination with a subsequent specific recycling process has been identified as promising to improve utilisation of the recycling potentials of rare earth elements from small and electric motors. However, in case recycling quotas are the prior goal of improvement, the application and further optimisation of post shredder technology is more relevant. 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
, TRITA-IM-EX 2016:22
Keyword [en]
recycling potential; end-of-life vehicles, electric bicycles, electric motor, rare earth element recycling
National Category
Environmental Management
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-190181OAI: diva2:951975
Available from: 2016-08-11 Created: 2016-08-11 Last updated: 2016-08-11Bibliographically approved

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