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Projects: Projects for Investigator
Reference Number EP/W019167/1
Title Thermal Recovery of Functional Coatings (TReFCo)
Status Started
Energy Categories Not Energy Related 90%;
Energy Efficiency(Industry) 10%;
Research Types Basic and strategic applied research 100%
Science and Technology Fields PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Chemistry) 15%;
PHYSICAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS (Metallurgy and Materials) 30%;
ENGINEERING AND TECHNOLOGY (Mechanical, Aeronautical and Manufacturing Engineering) 40%;
UKERC Cross Cutting Characterisation Not Cross-cutting 90%;
Sociological economical and environmental impact of energy (Other sociological economical and environmental impact of energy) 10%;
Principal Investigator Dr J Baker

Swansea University
Award Type Standard
Funding Source EPSRC
Start Date 02 May 2022
End Date 01 May 2025
Duration 36 months
Total Grant Value £1,005,537
Industrial Sectors Energy; Manufacturing
Region Wales
Programme Manufacturing : Manufacturing
Investigators Principal Investigator Dr J Baker , Engineering, Swansea University (99.995%)
  Other Investigator Dr D Deganello , Engineering, Swansea University (0.001%)
Dr M Davies , Engineering, Swansea University (0.001%)
Professor S Margadonna , Engineering, Swansea University (0.001%)
Dr PA Anderson , School of Chemistry, University of Birmingham (0.001%)
Dr G D J Harper , Metallurgy and Materials, University of Birmingham (0.001%)
  Industrial Collaborator Project Contact , Keeling and Walker Limited (0.000%)
Project Contact , WRAP (0.000%)
Project Contact , Tata Group UK (0.000%)
Project Contact , adphos Group (International) (0.000%)
Project Contact , Elemental Inks & Chemicals (0.000%)
Project Contact , PLUG LIFE CONSULTING LTD (0.000%)
Project Contact , Precision Varionic International Ltd PVi (0.000%)
Web Site
Abstract When devices such as computers, smart phones and batteries are sent for recycling not all of the materials are captured for use in new devices. The metals are most likely to be recycled because they are easy to separate and their methods of recycling are well established. Specialist coatings often made with rare and expensive materials enable our modern electronics to work. However these coatings often cause problems when it comes to recycling, they can mean that the metals are more contaminated and so these coatings are often burnt off, causing pollution and adding cost to the recycling process. It also means that the expensive cleverly engineered coating has been lost and its value not realised.TReFCo aims to develop a low cost method for removing these coatings so that they can be reused to make new devices. This will have multiple benefits; it will mean that valuable raw materials are kept within the supply chain, supporting the UK economy. It will also mean that the materials that they were coated on are cleaner prior to their recycling process ensuring a purer recycled product at a lower cost.The method employed by TReFCo will be to subject the coatings to near infrared radiation to burn the binder (glue) that holds the coating in place without damaging the coating material or the substrate material.TReFCo will also develop new adhesives that will 'unglue' when exposed to near infrared radiation, making it easier (and cheaper) to take devices apart before they are recycled. This could also be used within a repair process.In addition to the technical developments during the project a lifecycle analysis will be undertaken - this will ensure that researchers fully understand the environmental costs of producing materials and recycling them. Identifying any areas that are environmentally damaging in order that they can be avoided by material design or by changing the processing methods. In all the aim of the project is to make the possibility of a truly circular economy one step closer to being a reality.
Publications (none)
Final Report (none)
Added to Database 15/12/21