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Towards a green strategy for materials recycling. Two focusing domains: high added materials & CO2 for innovative applications

Green strategy for material recycling opens the way for circular economy and news industrial processes; however, the pillars of this challenge are the strategic materials, the carbon cycle and the water consumption.


One of the new challenge is to develop circular economy for each kind of materials, however we can distinguish the byproducts of the process from the mine to the elaborated material and the deconstruction of each kind of product at the end of its life.

Generally in a thermodynamic strategy we speak of enthalpy and entropy, the second one take into account the mass balance and the energy balance of the byproducts and permit an optimization of the process.

Today we mix to kind of proposals the mass balance with the material recycling and the byproducts, and the energy balance with the carbon energy efficiency that is why the question of the carbon content seems to be a strategic parameter to evaluate each kind of process.

However, the question of the carbon taxes (ETS) through the international trading system is the hidden parameter of the black box. For the waste treatment without international references in the stock exchange, and an anarchic environmental rules any kind of economical simulation processes does not take care of the waste treatment and the carbon emission. The economic optimization as we see around the world consist of Stockpiling waste for the next generation.

If we modify the paradigm and qualify the waste as a field of raw materials or a storage of energy we can open a new engineering research strategy and develop new education proposals.

In front of us we have the recycling of electronic materials from computers, mobile phones, the recycling of batteries, the recycling of rubber from tires, the recycling of rare earths from magnets, the polymers recycling, the zinc and copper from electronic hardware. But today we have no rules for an industrial recycling with specific processes which probably need more dry techniques, including innovative approaches, to replace wet dirty processes.

One of the question behind the recycling and the mineral extraction is the amount of waste produces during the treatment. But e-waste recycling creates new opportunities, as the waste provides a higher concentration of metals higher than in the mined ore. However waste is also mixed with other materials and compounds so new processes are needed and new co-products could also be generated, which could be harnessed under well-defined recycling pathways.

To open a new symposium we can suggest two main ways one about a critical value-added material and a second one about carbon dioxide emission from the processes but in every case we have to point out the byproducts and the water consumption.

At the same time we have to point out the environmental risks of waste transformations into value-added materials which are more complex than the usual materials. Because some mixtures contain a variety of materials with many possible outcomes and need specific rules or new processes and open the question of new researches, new industrial techniques, which are the goal of a more safe and sustainable world.

Today waste or end-of-life products from many industries and other sources could reach those countries were the environmental rules and the human risks are not taken into account, and in doing this through unfortunate circumstances way we produce geopolitical conflicts, water pollution and toxic air emissions.

Under the umbrella of UNESCO for the education and the ONU for the international trade it seems that an international agreement is needed to manage recycling, waste treatment and circular economy needed with an increasing world population.

Hot topics to be covered by the symposium

  • First balance of the main waste material production including the carbon ones
  • Management tools for the waste control for materials (toxicity, time life, European directives)
  • Waste transformations and material recycling for electronic, batteries, glasses, polymers, magnets and harmful materials to regenerate valuable materials and develop new technologies for selective synthesis of materials from waste through microrecycling.
  • Bacteria processes for new extraction from deep field and carbon loop
  • Innovative processes for turbine efficiency
  • Circular economy and waste: how to manage the new wastes, and build on the new science of microrecycling

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Symposium organizers
Hans FECHTUlm University

Institute of Functional Nanosystems FNS, Albert-Einstein-Allee 47, 89081 Ulm, Germany
Jacques AMOUROUXUniversité Pierre et Marie Curie

ENSCP / PSL, Paris, France
Veena SAHAJWALLACentre for Sustainable Materials Research and Technology (SMaRT)

UNSW Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia