• Design and Development of a Pilot Plant for WEEE-Computers Reusing

    J.A. Vilán1, P. Izquierdo1, P. Yañez1

    Department of Mechanical Engineering, University of Vigo, Lagoas-Marcosende, 36210, Vigo, Spain.


    This paper is focus on one of the main problems at the end of useful life of electrical and electronic equipment (eee). waste of eee (weee) are growing at a rate three times faster than the rest of the solid waste and it is expected to be more than 12 million tonnes by 2020 in the ue, according to european commission. as a consequence of this important issue, an environmental project was developed called ecoraee by a consortium of two companies and university of vigo. this project aims to solve the weee problem from different points of view: technical, environmental and also economic, and it was funded by life European program (life env/es/574 11).

    According to circular economy, actions to contribute to ‘closing the loop’ of product lifecycles must be done in order to sustainability. in the case of eee there are two options: just recycling or reuse before recycling. increase useful life of eee, especially computers, is best way to reduce the problematic of weee. department of mechanical engineering at university of vigo leads, within ecoraee project, the demonstration of a reuse process for computers could be done under a perspective of enlarge useful life to different application. in fact, an operation process is defined to prepare any computer to reuse in three specific applications:

    – recover material to create a building air-conditioning control and lighting system (demo 1)

    – create a cluster of computers for grid processing (demo 2)

    – create perimeter security devices for intranets (demo 3)

    Under these conditions of computers reuse, a demonstrative pilot plant was designed and finally built at university of vigo, including the implementation of flow of operation to reuse. a pilot plant was operative from march to september 2014 and they were processed about 4-5 computers per day. taking into account that there was a first stage of set-up of the plant, the result during the second stage (full operative stage) of computer processing for each demo show a tax pcs reuse of about a 21% and a 25% in the case of demo 1 and demo 3, respectively, in which full computers reused, and about of a 100% of hdd and a 50% of motherboards in the case of components reused.

    Ecoraee pilot plant shows that reuse of computer is technically possible in order to enlarge useful life of computers, or components, to a second use. pilot plant was also electrically and energetically monitored and the results of computers processing were used by other research groups involved in ecoraee project to make an environmental analysis of weee reuse.

    Keywords: Waste of Electrical and Electronic Equipment’, WEEE, pilot plant, reuse, UE LIFE program.

    Pages: 107 – 118 | Full PDF Paper