Thursday Session 2: The (Geo) Metallurgy of the Circular Economy – Its simulation
Prof. Dr. Dr. hc. Markus A. Reuter
The circular economy will play an important role in shaping a resource-efficient society. Enabling this transformation from a linear to a circular economy requires precise quantification of resource efficiency and thus the economic viability of the system.
Based on the development of simulation tools of classical minerals processing and process metallurgy, the HSC Sim (www.outotec.com) simulation platform could be further developed, gleaning from many academically published works of the authors. This permits the simulation of the circular economy system and to subsequently calculate its resource efficiency. It for example also enables the estimation of a simulation-based recycling index of a product from the “Bill of Material” and “Full Material Declaration”. It is a unique methodology for “Design for Recycling”.
Figure 1 shows that a key to this simulation is a detailed understanding of the mineralogy of the circular economy system and its many products, materials and systems. In addition, a detailed understanding and quantification of the thermodynamic properties of the system is key to understanding its economics. With this approach, we will show the actual losses of the “circular economy” system and thus illuminate the limits. A focus will be on complex products and thus also contained batteries and their recycling.
Figure 1: The minerals and metallurgical basis of the circular economy