Dear Readers Industry 4.0 - it is a term more and more frequently used. However, what does it ­really mean? After the use of steam and water power,...






Premium breaking in Brazil

A Brazilian mine operator is using a Rammer 3288 hydraulic hammer in a secondary breaking application to maximize production at a facility in...



Berlin Recycling and Commodity Conference 2015: Intelligent, environmentally safe use of resources

The annual Berlin Recycling and Commodity Conference (BR&RK) has for eight years now occupied one of the leading places in the ranks of the many symposia and conferences which have, for a number of years, focussed on questions of national and global assurance of supplies of raw materials. The importance of this topic cannot be overstated, and the attending experts from Germany and abroad – primarily Austria – again had the opportunity of listening to stimulating addresses on strategic and environmental policy as well, above all, as technical matters, and of discussing them, in Berlin on 16 and 17 March 2015 (Fig. 1). The initiator and “soul“ of the BR&RK, Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Dr. h. c. Karl J. Thomé-Kozmiensky was, regrettably, unable to attend this year. The nonetheless respectable, but slightly lower number of participants compared to the previous years, of approx. 260 as against around 300, was almost certainly partly the result of the fact that the next conference in Berlin, “Mineral Waste and By-products“, scheduled for May 2015, was already fast approaching. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Daniel Goldmann (Fig. 2), of the Clausthal University of Technology, and Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil. Dr. h. c. Karl J. Thomé-Kozmiensky, of the TK-Verlag publishing house of Nietwerder-Neuruppin, were responsible for the scientific management of the conference. Programme coordination was in the experienced hands of Dr.-Ing. Stephanie Thiel, of the same firm of publishers. The conference was opened by Elisabeth Thomé-Kozmiensky MSc (Fig. 4), one of the organiser’s co-workers. In line with the concept of previous years, the first day of the conference dealt with current supra-disciplinary topics in a plenary session. Specific technical subjects were then discussed in the papers presented at the four events held in parallel on the second day of the conference. 1. Plenary session – Policy, strategy and economics The session started with political addresses focussing precisely on European raw-materials policy. Dr. Peer Hoth, of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, Berlin, examined for this purpose the European Innovation Partnership on Raw Materials (EIP). This speaker discussed the structure of the EIP (EU commissioners for environment, industry and research, the ministers of individual EU member countries, e.g. Germany, Poland, and representatives of major industrial companies) and the functions of the initiative, also citing examples of projects funded (including projects for optimisation in mining, the use of bio-technologies in mining, and the comprehensive re-use of steel-industry waste). The central focus of the paper presented by Dipl.-Ing. Anja Degenhardt, of Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH, Berlin, was on the promotion and funding of Research & Development by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), in Bonn. A whole series of projects were examined in order to illustrate the target of the funding provisions: intelligent and conservational use of resources. A further example of European initiatives in the field of sustainable use of resources was discussed by Prof. Dr. Jens Gutzmer, of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resources Technology of the TU Bergakademie mining and technology academy Freiberg, in his paper on “KIC EIT Raw Materials“. This new “Knowledge and Innovation Community“ (KIC) is part of the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) founded in 2008 with the aim of implementing innovative solutions on the market. The EIT Raw Materials currently includes partners from industry, smaller companies, universities and research institutions from twenty-two countries, and is intended to function like a commercial enterprise. The first practical results are scheduled for 2016, in the form of the implementation of large-scale projects. Mag. Dr. Robert Holnsteiner, of the Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy, Vienna, outlined Austria’s strategic route to assurance of raw-materials supplies. This is based on three central elements: 1. assurance of raw-materials supplies from domestic sources, 2. from non-EU countries and 3. via the improvement of raw-materials efficiency and recycling. The Austrian raw-materials alliance, which sees itself as a platform for stakeholders for the drafting of provisions for sustainable assurance of raw-materials supplies, was founded as an instrument for this purpose in 2012. The “Potentials and limitations of recycling“ was the stimulating subject of the paper presented by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Martin Faulstich (Fig. 4), of the Clausthal Institute of Environmental Technology (CUTEC)/Clausthal University of Technology. This speaker ascertained in introducing his address that recycling is a core principle in achieving economic growth without negative environmental impact. As he noted, the excellent potentials for the recycling of metals, and of “mass“ metals, in particular, must be set against serious limitations. There is, on the one hand, the so-called “rebound effect“ (when improved efficiency results in greater production and greater consumption) and, on the other hand, various dissipative losses. The individual categories nonetheless exhibit potentials for improvement and for the raising of the overall efficiency of the “circular“ (closed-cycle) economy. The speaker’s observations were rounded off by reflections on the cost/revenue structure. Prof. Dr. Armin Reller, of the University of Augsburg, reported on the ForCycle research alliance, as an example of the action being implemented by the Bavarian state government for the raw-materials turnaround. Research & Development into innovative recycling technologies and processes within this alliance is being funded to an amount of around 3 million € for a period of three years. The speaker cited a large selection of examples to show how technical solutions are to be achieved for the efficient provision of secondary feed materials in the fields of metals, composites, biogenic polymer materials and building materials. Prof. Dr.-Ing. Daniel Goldmann expressed his thoughts on “Recycling - now and tomorrow” in an extremely fine overview paper on the current status of research and practice in recycling, outlining the challenges, strategies, structures and technologies in use. He examined collection systems, the trend in recovery rates at various levels of the value chain, and also recycling-orientated design, as well as emphasising the importance of transdisciplinary research and the existence of high-power alliances between industry and research institutions. Only in this way, he noted, would it be possible to master the new challenges now approaching (further increases in consumption of resources as the global population grows, the rebound effect, the development of new applications for specific raw materials). The circular economy in 2015 compared to its status ten years ago was the focus taken by Dr. Christian Hagelüken, of Umicore AG & Co. KG, of Hanau-Wolfgang. Starting with a short retrospective back to the 1970s and deliberations on the term “circular economy“, this speaker took specific examples of metals, in particular, to illustrate the level the circular economy has reached today, and the factors influencing this. His conclusions: the subject of the circular economy must be approached comprehensively; innovative materials and products must be developed, high-quality recycling must be assured,...



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