Designing a Recycling Facility for Energy Materials

Kitko, Bartholomew; Berger, Matthew; Chiti, Elias; Harris, Trayce; and Kulesa, Mark, “Designing a Recycling Facility for Energy Materials” (2020). Williams Honors College, Honors Research Projects. 1176.

Abstract: The purpose of this project was to design a recycling facility for energy materials. Our attention was focused on the following energy systems: catalyst converters, wind turbines, lithium ion batteries, and photovoltaic cells. These systems require materials that may be precious, rare-earth materials, not easily attainable in the US, and can be harmful to our environment. This project had two main focuses: research and design. The fall semester of 2019 was focused primarily on researching possible energy system materials for recycling, while the spring semester was devoted to the design of the recycling facility. The research done for this project included: identifying different energy materials used in energy systems available in the market, determining an economically appropriate energy material to recycle, creating and analyzing different recycling processes feasible for this material, and choosing to develop one to two of these recycling processes. Ultimately, we decided to focus on designing recycling facilities that could recycle wind turbine blades and lithium-ion battery cells. While we were able to complete the design for the lithium-ion battery recycling facility, the design of the wind turbine blade facility was cut short due to time constraints caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The design for the lithium-ion battery facility includes designing a cost-effective recycling
facility for separating energy materials, picking machines to fulfill these requirements, and performing an economic analysis of recycling these materials.

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