Friday Session 2: Statistical Entropy as a Tool for Circular Economy

Mr. Omar Velazquez; Prof. Rodrigo Serna.


Recycling processes aim to close the loop and recover valuable elements present in high entropy materials, e.g. mixed waste (Figure 1). The state-of-the-art recycling processes are far from being well developed, compared to production and manufacture, and do not achieve a total recovery of elements. In some cases, they can produce unusable by-products, demote the quality of material, or have unnecessary processing stages. These undesired effects reduce the “circularity” of recycling processes. Therefore, quantifying these drawbacks become a crucial step to close the material loop in a more effective manner. Thermodynamic parameters, i.e. entropy, exergy, etc. have been proposed as a way to quantify and manage losses during recycling processes in order to achieve a true circular economy.

As part of the CloseLoop project, our research group has studied the use of material-flow-analysis coupled with IT principles, i.e. relative statistical entropy, to analyse the concentration of elements during pre-processing stages of recycling processes. Statistical entropy is a tool that can describe material processing operations in a systemic perspective, that is, considering the change in concentration of all the elements present in the main and side-streams of current and prior stages. The separation of lithium-battery waste using sieves is a simple process that have been used as a proof-of-concept for the utilization of this methods. In this workshop, we will provide details on the possibilities of using entropy as an efficiency parameter aimed at the optimization of recycling processes.

Figure 1 Circular economy model from a material-centric perspective.

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