Sunday, January 29, 2023

Beyond recycling electric cars: the Akoda circular economy project

Used or damaged cars are disposed of through energy-intensive scrapping processes. However, more and more, reuse and recycling systems make it possible to recover some of their components, either by having them perform a similar function in another vehicle, or reintegrating them into the supply chain. with him project acodaResearchers at the Fraunhofer Institute are developing a better alternative: examine, evaluate and reuse each component, being part of a separate element from which it comes,

This strategy optimizes the useful life of individual parts, making it possible to install circular economy sustainable in the field of mobility. Used Battery, Gear Shafts & Cogs They can also be used in other applications outside the automotive industry. The project started on November 1, 2022 and is scheduled to end in late September 2025.

project components

Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the EKODA project focuses on the mobility industry, addressing main challengesResource scarcity, rising raw material prices, supply chain disruptions, rising energy costs and waste disposal. The Fraunhofer Institute says, in short, to “achieve sustainable mobility through building a circular economy”.

The way to solve the problem is to deal with old or faulty components as a resource, evaluate and test them to find the right way to reuse or reuse them. It is not intended for recycling or disposal of material as waste. Strategy has two components: a. evaluation system and a stripping process, both automatic. The latter are designed to reintroduce components into circular supply chains once they have been separated and processed.

EKODA project from within

There is nothing better to understand how the EKODA project works a practical example, case of a 2021 bmw i3 reconditioned It is used by the German Institute to explain its procedures. Once the battery is removed, a camera slowly walks over it and records the model, serial number, and power. An algorithm then compares this information with an internal database.

next step is remove battery cover through a semi-automated process. A measurement system records the charge level, the functionality of its control electronics, and the state of each cell that makes it up. evaluation software Uses this data to build a detailed battery health profile that, once analyzed, is used to provide recommendations for reuse.

An intact battery can be transferred to an electric car of the same type. If it goes bad it could end up in a small electrical machine, such as a farm tool. In the event that any of its cells are defective, it may be suitable for use in stationary systems.

This same principle of review and reuse can be applied to other auto parts, “We needed to find a way to reuse components from the beginning by carefully separating the individual parts through a standardized and automated process,” he explains. become a phraseHead of the Fraunhofer IWU Building Department.

software with artificial intelligence

The team is developing and optimizing the evaluation system. Equipped with software algorithms artificial intelligence Which implement circular economy processes through disassembly and efficient and economically viable processes. “We want to move away from traditional recycling by treating each component as a valuable resource, regardless of its function in the vehicle,” explains Freya.

Fraunhofer researchers are also working on processes that allow the individual components to be separated automatically. By systematically implementing this strategy, the economic cost and emissions of manufacturing new products will be reduced. This would reduce or eliminate the need to prematurely scrap cars that may still be partially intact.

reusable components

The researchers aren’t just looking at batteries. as well body or drive train (shaft and sprocket) may be suitable for rebuilding. Steel axles can be miniaturized through a retrofit process for use in other mobility applications. “A sprocket from a faulty gearbox can be reused in a refurbished electric scooter, to name just one example,” explains Fry.

dynamic update in real time

“The assessment system we are building is designed to be complex and holistic. Ecological criteria will have as much weight as technical and economic factors, such as CO emissions2 or energy consumed during reuse based on daily dynamic fluctuations”, explains Patrick Alexander SchmidtFraunhofer Researcher.

But the Acoda Project experts want to take the development and design of the evaluation system a step further. They are looking to supply chains, repair shops and auto dismantlers to meet their needs and requests for parts in the valuation system.

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