Materials & Processes

ECOCIRNOV for "Circular Economy and Innovation"

Due to the rising emphasis on environmental preservation and the circular economy, the management and recovery of waste from industrial by-products and co-products remain key financial and environmental challenges which are central to sustainable development policies. In late 2016, we pioneered in this area by creating the “Circular Economy and Innovation – ECOCIRNOV” Chair at IMT Nord Europe.

Today, many sectors are already operational, but despite the current networks and means of communication, the relevant stakeholders do not all come together to compare qualitative and quantitative valuation levels. Based on our expertise gained from the interreg PRISMA project, we have developed a decision support tool for positioning mineral waste according to its recovery potential for a given application. This tool can advise users on the supply site to choose by taking into account the transport costs, and the right waste transformation based on the quality required for the product intended for a given application. As a follow-up to the PRISMA project, the first goal is to develop a digital tool for managing household waste streams for communities or waste management companies with several sites. The application is now functional and can be adapted for use by any community or waste management company.

As part of the reindustrialisation of our regions and development of local distribution networks, we have conducted several economic model studies for the purpose of studying the availability of waste streams to be recycled on a local scale (within a city or urban area); these flows feed a local recycling unit at which the appropriate processes will be identified and dimensioned. Our second goal is to help create local recycling units (Unités Locales de Recyclage – ULR) by establishing economic models. ULRs have the advantage of creating/retaining jobs and saving raw materials locally. These studies were conducted by our engineering students as part of their training. Several topics were addressed, including a ULR for waste from collective canteens, a ULR for surgical masks related to COVID-19, and a ULR for LED neon tubes.

This chair ended in late 2021. It allowed us to develop an adaptable digital tool for managing household flows and to build skills in developing simple economic models for implementing local recycling units (ULR)

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