Manufacturing sustainability targets are under pressure by investors and government. Green steel, recyclable materials, energy consumption, and water usage are among the top focus areas for improvement. All the while manufacturers find solutions for shipping container and semi...
♻️ Plant-Based Plastics Gain Favor as Companies Pursue Sustainability Goals
Bioplastics are expanding faster than recycled plastic in some cases, such as in Asian countries like China and Japan that are mandating more ecologically friendly materials, nova-Institute founder Michael Carus said. Even if global plastic recycling rates someday reach 70% compared with around 9% today, bioplastics alongside materials made from captured carbon dioxide will have a big role to play as the world transitions away from fossil-fuel-based materials.
The strongest demand for bioplastics is currently from fashion and food-packaging companies, but interest is also rising from companies in cosmetics, electronics and more durable goods such as tools, Eastman Chemical’s Chief Technology Officer Chris Killian said. Some of the earliest adopters of bioplastics are fashion companies, including Lululemon, which has a goal to replace the majority of oil-based nylon with plant-based nylon by 2030.
This year, Dow struck an agreement with biomass refinery startup New Energy Blue to buy bioethylene made from the stalks and leaves of corn grown in Iowa. Dow will then make conventional and recyclable plastics from the material and sell to companies in transportation, footwear, and packaging.
Heidelberg Materials North America and MHI Are Working Toward First Full-Scale Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage Solution for Cement Industry
Heidelberg Materials announced today that Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) has delivered and installed a compact CO2 pilot capture system “CO2MPACTTM” at its cement plant in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Through a partnership between Heidelberg Materials, the Government of Canada and the Government of Alberta, the facility is expected to become the first full-scale carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS) solution for the cement industry globally. The new facility, which Heidelberg Materials anticipates being operational by late 2026, will capture more than 1 million tonnes of CO2 annually from its Edmonton cement plant and the combined heat and power facility that is integrated with the capture process.
How AI is helping airlines mitigate the climate impact of contrails
🧀 Conceptualizing the sustainable dairy plant of the future
Depending on the type of dairy processing plant — cheese, milk, butter, etc. — the Stellar Group makes specific recommendations. “In cheese factories, there’s an opportunity to recover the water and use for other purposes like hot water, potable water. This will help to reduce biochemical oxygen demand (BOD) for wastewater,” Kolla, Goode and Smallwood suggest. “Solar panels will provide as an alternative source to reduce energy costs and a combined heat and power (CHP) system, also known as cogeneration, will recover heat from the systems (cooling tower, heat exchangers) and produce an alternative energy source.”
Kolla notes that once the factory is built, it can be extremely expensive to retrofit it into a sustainable factory. However, “It’s very cost effective to design the factory from day one with a sustainable strategy,” he advises. “Leverage state and federal government energy rebate programs. Some states provide incentives based on energy used per ton of product.”
Locus Robotics and Sustainability in the Circular Economy
The diagram below illustrates the continuous flow of materials in a circular economy. There are two main cycles: the technical cycle (right) and the biological cycle (left). In the technical cycle, products and materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible while in the biological cycle, nutrients from biodegradable materials are returned to the earth to regenerate.
The focus of this blog is on the technological cycle, which covers items that are not biodegradable such as metals and plastics. In this cycle, products and materials maintain their highest possible value, while opportunities to generate value come through retaining the greatest proportion of labor and energy embedded in products. The technical cycle of the circular economy functions through circles of activity between users; service providers; product manufacturers; and parts manufacturers. Each practice aims to maintain the highest value of a product by extending its period of use.
♻️ Carbon Capture Is Hard. This Plant Shows Why.
Only one commercial power plant in North America is currently operating with carbon capture. Its experience hasn’t been as smooth—or climate-friendly—as proponents of the rules might hope. That plant, the Boundary Dam Power Station Unit 3 in Canada’s Saskatchewan province, turns locally mined coal into enough electricity for 100,000 homes.
The unit is designed to operate until 2044, but Boundary Dam’s owner, SaskPower, says the benefits of operating a coal-fired power unit using carbon-capture technology are becoming less apparent. “Utility operators in the United States will be in the same boat as we are,” said Rupen Pandya, president and chief executive of SaskPower.
Mr. Duffy said retrofitting an existing commercial-scale 300-megawatt natural-gas plant with carbon capture would cost $372 million, while retrofitting a similar-size coal plant would cost $600 million, based on recent estimates from the Energy Department. For new plants the cost would be about 10% less, he said.
The only commercial-scale power plant in the U.S. using carbon capture—the Petra Nova coal-fired plant in Texas—closed its $1 billion carbon-capture unit in 2020 after three years.
Solvay Wins 2023 Re|Focus Sustainability Innovation Award
|Solvay has been awarded the Plastics Industry Association’s (PLASTICS) 2023 People’s Choice Award contest for its Amodel Bios PPA, which competed with the final nominees from all 2023 PIA Re||Focus Sustainability Innovation Award categories. AmodelBios PPA is a partially biobased long-chain PPA made with non-food competing biomass and is produced at Solvay’s Augusta, Georgia manufacturing site, which uses 100% renewable energy to reduce its Scope 1 and 2 emissions. Thanks to this sustainable combination, the polymer has the lowest global warming potential (GWP) of all PPA resins, worldwide.|
How chemists could give new life to old wind turbine blades
But when it’s time to decommission one, a wind turbine’s strength can become a weakness. Because the blades are designed to be so durable, the materials used to build them can’t currently be recycled. And about 43 million tons of these blades will be decommissioned by 2050. The new work describes a way to recover the main components of wind turbine blades, breaking down the plastic that holds them together without destroying the material’s primary building blocks.
To break down the epoxy materials, researchers submerged them in a mixture of solvents and added a catalyst, which helped accelerate the chemical reaction. They heated everything up to 160 °C (320 °F) for between 16 hours and several days, until the target material was fully broken down. After some initial tests, the researchers used their method to chew up a one-inch-square chunk of a wind turbine blade. After six days, the result was nearly spotless glass fibers (and a supporting metal sheet that runs through most turbine blades) and vials of ingredients that could be used again in new materials.
Tesla’s Magnet Mystery
A minor detail in Elon Musk’s “Master Plan Part 3” made big news in an obscure corner of physics. Colin Campbell, an executive in Tesla’s powertrain division, announced that his team was expunging rare-earth magnets from its motors, citing supply chain concerns and the toxicity of producing them.
Still, it’s unlikely that Tesla is simply replacing its magnets with something far worse, like ferrite, without making other changes. “You’ll have a huge magnet to carry around in a car,” says Alena Vishina, a physicist at Uppsala University. Luckily, a motor is a fairly complex machine with plenty of other components that, in theory, can be rearranged to soften the penalty of using weaker magnets. In computer models, materials company Proterial recently determined that by carefully positioning ferrite magnets and tweaking other aspects of motor design, many performance metrics of rare-earth-driven motors can be replicated. The result in that case was a motor that’s only about 30 percent heavier, a difference that could be small relative to a car’s overall bulk.
All in all, if you’re in a business where you can make an alternative work, it probably makes sense to do so, says Jim Chelikowsky, a physicist who studies magnetic materials at the University of Texas, Austin. But there are all kinds of reasons, he says, to look for better alternatives to rare earth magnets than ferrite. The challenge is finding materials with three essential qualities: They need to be magnetic, to hold that magnetism in the presence of other magnetic fields, and to tolerate high temperatures. Hot magnets cease to be magnets.
3D printing has a complex relationship with sustainability
“Anything that you can do to reduce the cost of production is always a greener solution because costs are directly related to carbon footprint,” Rodgers said. “Everything that we derive – whether it’s forging in metals to all the raw materials we utilize – is CO2 related.”
Although 3D printing can reduce waste in some cases, it also has waste generation issues, Wohlers said. For example, the polymers for powder bed fusion, a popular 3D printing process, need to be continually replenished with virgin material, which results in 30% to 50% waste, he said.
Solvay Launches First ISCC Plus Certified Sulfone Polymers
Solvay has successfully earned independent third-party mass balance (MB) chain of custody accreditation under the widely recognized International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC-Plus) scheme for its Marietta, Ohio (USA) site, producing Udel PSU (polysulfone) and Radel PPSU (polyphenylsulfone), said to be the first ISCC-Plus mass balance compliant sulfone materials in the market and now commercially available, worldwide.
New Process Converts Scrap Aluminum Into EV Parts
Engineers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) here have developed a new manufacturing process that can convert recycled aluminum into parts for electric vehicles. They worked with Magna International Inc. on the foou-year R&D project that dramatically reduces the need to mine and refine raw aluminum ore.
The Shear Assisted Processing and Extrusion (ShAPE) process collects scrap bits and leftover aluminum trimmings from automotive manufacturing and transforms it directly into suitable material for new vehicle parts. It is now being scaled to make lightweight aluminum parts for EVs.
“This innovation is only the first step toward creating a circular economy for recycled aluminum in manufacturing,” claims Whalen. “We are now working on including post-consumer waste streams, which could create a whole new market for secondary aluminum scrap.”
Bell’s Brewery: The Advanced Manufacturing of Beer With a Craft Brewing Spirit
The hiss of steam, hum of churning machines, and a fragrant aroma of hops provides the greeting to Bell’s Brewery production facility in Comstock, MI. The complex, which spans 200,000 square feet, brews more than 20 beers for distribution as the national production backbone of the Bell’s brand.
“Once we got the robot arm in place we were able to add a second shift as a result of putting this automation in. Compared to what people’s mindsets are that you take jobs away, we actually sped up our production and were able to add more jobs to our workforce.” On the digital side of automation, Sippel said he could run most of the brewery on his phone while lying on the couch at home. “In a lot of ways Automation can make it feel like you are playing [a video game like] Sim Brewer,” Sippel said. “It is very easy to forget you are controlling very real processes that can be really dangerous.” Operating with safety in mind in the digital realm is key, but it is also important to be present in the room, he added. “You still need to have physical eyes and ears in the process.”
Bell’s Comstock facility is more than meets the eye. The brewery features an 85-ton geothermal field installed eight feet beneath its two-acre hop yard, using glycol filled tubes to exchange heat and offset HVAC demand in the brewery’s offices. Additionally, the LED lights installed at the brewery conserve 180,000 kWh of electricity per year in comparison to incandescent bulbs— that’s enough electricity to power 22 homes in one year.
Sustainable Business Models for Manufacturing
✈️ Boeing takes flight in sustainability battle with carbon data cruncher
US aerospace giant Boeing has released a data modeling tool designed to reveal the effects of a range of technologies that the industry hopes will reduce aviation’s carbon emissions.
In an effort to better understand the impact of proposed solutions, the Seattle-based manufacturer has released the Boeing Cascade Climate Impact Model for public use. The data modeling tool identifies the effects of a range of sustainability solutions to reduce aviation’s carbon emissions and can be found at Boeing’s new Sustainable Aerospace Together hub.
The company promises that Cascade crunches the numbers on the full life cycle of alternate energy sources for aviation, including production and distribution of fuels, through to their usage. Data modeling also measures airplane fleet renewal, operational efficiency, renewable energy sources, future aircraft, and market-based measures as pathways to decarbonization.
Sustainable Industry Repair with RoboDK
‘Pushing the limits of innovation’ - 3D printed footwear showcased by Dior at Paris Fashion Week
The two different types of shoes created by Dior, derbys and boots, were printed using laser powder bed fusion technology, but the brand did not disclose the specific system used. The footwear was just about visible on the catwalk beneath long pants that models were wearing, but close-up images have now been released.
In a video shared by the official Dior Twitter account, a member of the design team spoke about the sustainability of the shoes: “What interested us here is that, once the tongue has been unstitched and the undersoles and laces have been removed, 80% of the material can be entirely reused for other purposes. It’s a circular approach.”
Digitise and dematerialise: Divergent CEO Kevin Czinger on supplying automotive structures to the world's biggest brands
The manufacture of lithium-ion phosphate battery cells at Coda’s facility in China relies heavily on coal-fired power. And because of that, ‘well over’ 200 kilogrammes (kg) of Co2 per kilowatt hour (kWh) is being produced in battery manufacture. At this time, kg of Co2 per kWh is the most important metric on Czinger’s mind and the cogs whirring in his head only intensify as he does the workings out to reveal that these batteries and EVs aren’t having enough impact.
Post Coda, Czinger educated himself on lifecycle assessments, figuring only a holistic approach would return the energy emission reduction that is required in an era of climate emergency. He also came to realise that the way automotive structures are manufactured, and the costs required to do so, need optimising – particularly as EVs, hybrid cars and internal combustion engine vehicles (and all the tooling and fixturing to come with them) continue to emerge. “The amortisation period, the competition, the driving down of values, you’re looking and saying, ‘this is environmentally and economically broken,’” Czinger says.
Czinger and his team developed the Divergent Adaptive Production System (DAPS) to ‘digitise and dematerialise’ automotive production and provide the technical competency for the company, in time, to become a Tier One supplier to the automotive industry. What Divergent is willing to talk about, however, is how its DAPS workflow works. Its engineers start by understanding the static stiffness targets of a structure, then the typical load cases it will be exposed to, then what its boundary conditions are, then its crash requirements, durability requirements and dynamic stiffness response requirements. This information is the input for the Divergent design algorithm, which is where the company enters the concept phase. Here, Divergent gives the OEM ‘optionality’ to, for example, reduce stiffness in a certain area of the structure to reduce mass. After the concept phase comes the detailed design phase, and after that, it’s time to print the part.
Digitally Connecting Hardware and Software – Toshiba's Efforts to Solve Sustainability Issues
Toshiba’s strategy rests on using sensing to collect data in the real world, analyzing it in cyberspace, using the results to make predictions, formulating optimal plans, and returning valuable information to the real world. The reason why Toshiba can pursue this initiative is that almost 150 years in manufacturing has brought with it a deep wealth of experience, technology, and expertise in hardware, while over 50 years of AI research and development have allowed the company to thoroughly refine its software technology.
Within Toshiba’s Virtual Power Plant, IoT is used to control all the equipment in real time, in response to the constantly shifting situation in electricity supply and demand, and it functions as if it were a single power plant. Additionally, its EtaPRO™ plant monitoring software monitors the thermal efficiency and operating conditions of power plants to detect signs of deterioration and abnormality. This makes possible timely maintenance and equipment replace, and realizes stable and highly efficient operation. It also minimizes energy losses due to equipment failures and power plant outages.
World-First Project to 'Self Heal' Cracked Concrete Using Sloppy Sludge Could Save $1.4 Billion Annual Repair Bill to Australia’s Sewer Pipes
A world-first project led by University of South Australia sustainable engineering expert Professor Yan Zhuge is trialling a novel solution to halt unprecedented levels of corrosion in the country’s ageing concrete pipelines. Self-healing concrete, in the form of microcapsules filled with water treatment sludge, could be the answer.
Corrosive acid from sulphur-oxidising bacteria in wastewater, along with excessive loads, internal pressure and temperature fluctuations are cracking pipes and reducing their life span, costing hundreds of millions of dollars to repair every year across Australia.
“Sludge waste shows promise to mitigate microbial corrosion in concrete sewer pipes because it works as a healing agent to resist acid corrosion and heal the cracks,” Prof Zhuge says.
Brick and iron heat battery for zero-carbon industrial processes
The company’s so-called “brick toaster” heat battery stores intermittent generation from renewable energy resources like solar and wind, able to hold stored heat energy at temperatures up to 1,500 degrees Celsius for hours or days at a time. The zero-carbon solution supports manufacturing processes such as steel, cement and chemical manufacturing, as well as low-temperature food processing.
What exactly renders a returnable glass bottle for milk sustainable?
The Berchtesgadener Land dairy has been awarded the Reusable Systems Innovation Prize of the German environmental association Deutsche Umwelthilfe (DUH) and the Stiftung Initiative Mehrweg (SIM; Foundation for Reusable Systems) for its new Krones glass line. A welcome opportunity for us to take a look at the factors influencing the sustainability of packaging.
The glass bottle is the most commonly used returnable packaging for milk and practically the only one that is taken back. Consumers regard it as a sustainable container of a superior nature that protects top-quality fresh milk. And it has recently been making a comeback: In 2019, sales of milk in returnable glass bottles in Germany were up by about 30 per cent over the preceding year. But the overall reuse quota for containers of milk-based beverages, at about 1.3 per cent, is very low. That was not always the case: In 2015, the Institute for Energy and Environmental Research (ifeu) found that the proportion of returnable glass bottles for fresh milk had fallen by a good 90 per cent between 1995 and 2005. Demand for milk in returnable glass is now rising again. Berchtesgadener Land felt the full effect of this uptrend, which pushed the dairy’s old line to the limits of its capacity. With its new Krones filling line, the cooperative has doubled the output to 12,000 bottles per hour and is again able to respond in full to the demand of milk and cream fans.
Coolbrook heats metal to 1,700°C — while it also tackles global warming
Joonas Rauramo, chief executive of Coolbrook, believes his company has found a way to achieve temperatures of up to 1,700C for industrial processes through a novel form of electrification. “Our sweet spot is above 500C-600C,” he says.
In essence, Coolbrook’s technology reverses conventional turbine theory. For more than a century, coal and other fossil fuels have been burnt to create the heat and kinetic power used to turn turbine-driven generators and power electricity grids. But the start-up’s rotodynamic heaters and reactors turn that process on its head. They use electricity to rotate turbines, which, by forcing a rapid acceleration and deceleration of air or other gases, create violent levels of kinetic energy. This energy can supply the extreme temperatures required by many heavy industrial processes, which cannot normally be achieved by conventional electrification through resistive heaters, because these struggle to exceed a threshold of 500C.
Startups Look for Ways to Bring Down the Cost of Green Hydrogen
Companies are pouring a lot of money into the idea that hydrogen can help decarbonize the fossil-fuel-based economy. One drawback to hydrogen as a form of green energy, however, is that nearly all of the world’s hydrogen is produced in a greenhouse-gas-intensive process: heating natural gas with steam to split it into hydrogen and carbon dioxide. This type of hydrogen is known as gray hydrogen, or sometimes blue hydrogen if the factory has carbon-capture technology.
Green hydrogen currently costs between approximately $3 per kilo and $26 per kilo, according to data from S&P Global. The Energy Department has said it needs to cost about $1 per kilo to unlock new industrial applications. Closing that gap with current technology depends on renewable electricity becoming a lot cheaper. The Hydrogen Council, an industry group, says the cost of making hydrogen with electrolyzers could fall to $1.40 a kilogram by 2030 in the right circumstances, such as renewable electricity being available for as little as $13 per megawatt hour.
Prototyping for the Circular Economy: Impact of Sustainability Regulations on Packaging Development
New environmental regulations are going to require manufacturers to redesign packaging so they are only one material (monomaterial) – which allows for increased ability to recycle as opposed to packaging made from multi-materials. This creates the need for rapid product development in order to completely redesign bottles and caps to be made of different materials than ever before. More companies are leaning on HDPE bottles and caps rather than the traditional PET bottle, which is going to cause a necessary redesign as the mechanical and physical properties of the materials are different.
Along with mono materials, tethered caps and closures are another shift in the world of manufacturing, designed to keep caps with their bottles to decrease the amount of litter made from single-use containers. These types of caps are pushing designers to get creative and develop entirely new caps and closures. This blog is going to give designers, product developers, and industry professionals the proper information for the future of packaging and how to leverage 3D printed tooling to stay ahead of the competition while maintaining proper prototyping procedures.
Market Dynamics, Technologies Drive Automotive Design
The ground underneath is constantly shifting: Supply chain constraints, software defined architectures, functional safety requirements, and the changing dynamics among original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), tier 1 suppliers, and semiconductor companies are altering the landscape of automotive electronics. This dynamic environment was the subject of discussion in a recent panel hosted by ProteanTecs, and, judging from that talk, “changing” may be an understatement.
“For each and every little functionality, there’s a single ECU,” that’s about to change drastically as OEMs move to a domain-based architecture with high-performance computers. Sustainability is also going to be viewed through a new lens because of data, as the car now has so many sources that will inform optimal charging times and where charging stations are placed.
Bruvi Launches Breakthrough Single-Serve Coffee System
Only about 9% of plastic is recycled and small coffee pods are even more challenging to recycle. With little industrial composting infrastructure in the US, most compostable coffee pods have a similar fate. With this in mind, the Bruvi team challenged themselves to find a practical solution that uses existing waste disposal infrastructure and saves users from complicated capsule separation and recycling steps. The result is Guilt Free Toss® B-Pods® bio-enzyme infused capsules designed to substantially break down in a landfill more rapidly than untreated plastics through an organic process that leaves no microplastics behind. In applicable landfills, B-Pods® can also play a role in Landfill Gas to Energy projects, creating renewable energy and bringing enhanced end-of-life value.
Machine-Learning-Enhanced Simulation Could Reduce Energy Costs in Materials Production
Thanks to a new computational effort being pioneered by the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory in conjunction with 3M and supported by the DOE’S High Performance Computing for Energy Innovation (HPC4EI) program, researchers are finding new ways to dramatically reduce the amount of energy required for melt blowing the materials needed in N95 masks and other applications.
Currently, the process used to create a nozzle to spin nonwoven materials produces a very high-quality product, but it is quite energy intensive. Approximately 300,000 tons of melt-blown materials are produced annually worldwide, requiring roughly 245 gigawatt-hours per year of energy, approximately the amount generated by a large solar farm. By using Argonne supercomputing resources to pair computational fluid dynamics simulations and machine-learning techniques, the Argonne and 3M collaboration sought to reduce energy consumption by 20% without compromising material quality.
Because the process of making a new nozzle is very expensive, the information gained from the machine-learning model can equip material manufacturers with a way to narrow down to a set of optimal designs. ”Machine-learning-enhanced simulation is the best way of cheaply getting at the right combination of parameters like temperatures, material composition, and pressures for creating these materials at high quality with less energy,” Blaiszik said.
CO2 emissions can be most effectively reduced by sourcing #RenewableEnergy or reducing energy consumption overall. Seurat provides a roadmap that will lead green transitions for #manufacturing.— Seurat Technologies (@SeuratTech) October 27, 2022
More details 🧵👇 pic.twitter.com/H5S1zgIqff
Building sustainability into operations
The path discrete manufacturing companies have taken to make their operations carbon neutral has important lessons for any business pursuing the dual mission of profitability and sustainability. Today, manufacturers of physical products find themselves on the front lines of sustainability. In part, that’s because their customers demand cleaner, lower-carbon products right now. In the high-tech sector, for example, Apple’s targets for reducing Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions far exceed the minimum requirements of the Science Based Target Initiative’s (SBTi) 1.5° pathway, and the company is committed to achieving Scope 3 carbon neutrality by 2030. The electric carmaker Polestar has established a “striving for net zero” mission that aims to create a truly climate-neutral car by 2030 through intense collaboration with suppliers, entrepreneurs, and innovators.
Discrete manufacturing organizations are also well positioned to understand, manage, and mitigate their environmental impact, thanks to their progress in digitizing operations and supply chains over the past decade. To recognize manufacturing enterprises that embrace both sustainability and the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) at scale, last year the World Economic Forum (WEF) announced a new category in its Global Lighthouse Network program: the Sustainability Lighthouse. These businesses are applying 4IR technologies to reduce their environmental footprint significantly.
Development of New Technology for Wastewater Treatment for Semiconductor Production
Alcohols are used to remove impurities on the surface of semiconductors or electronics during the manufacturing process, and wastewater containing alcohols is treated using reverse osmosis, ozone, and biological decomposition. Although such methods can lower the alcohol concentration in wastewater, they are ineffective at completely decomposing alcohols in wastewater with a low alcohol concentration. This is because alcohol is miscible in water, making it impossible to completely separate from alcohol using physical methods, while chemical or biological treatments are highly inefficient. For this reason, wastewater with a low alcohol concentration is primarily treated by diluting it with a large amount of clean water before its discharge.
The research team employed Fenton oxidation that uses oxidizing agents and catalysts during the advanced oxidation process for water treatment. Usually alcohols were used as reagents to verify radical production during Fenton oxidation in other advanced oxidation process (AOP) studies, they were the target for removal from semiconductor wastewater in this research. This water treatment technology is expected to dramatically reduce the cost and water resources invested into the treatment of semiconductor wastewater. In the past, clean water with a volume 10 times higher than that of the wastewater under treatment was required for dilution of the wastewater in order to reduce the alcohol concentration of 10 ppm in the wastewater to less than 1 ppm.
AMP Robotics Develops Industry’s First AI-Powered System for Recovery of Film and Flexible Packaging
AMP Robotics Corp. (“AMP”), a pioneer in artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, and infrastructure for the waste and recycling industry, is developing an AI-powered automation solution to improve recovery of film and flexible packaging. This first-of-its-kind innovation for materials recovery facilities (MRFs) aims to tackle the persistent challenge of film contamination.
A mere 1 percent of U.S. households have curbside access for recycling film and flexible packaging today, estimates The Recycling Partnership. Yet film and flexibles comprise the fast-growing and second-largest valued packaging segment, behind only corrugated containers and ahead of bottles and other rigid plastic packaging. Close to 95 pounds of these materials, including grocery and storage bags, pouches, and wrappers, are found in the average U.S. home each year. AMP’s solution, AMP Vortex™, is the industry’s first AI-powered automation system for film removal and recovery in MRF environments. AMP’s system targets film contamination and is initially optimized for quality control on fiber lines. Vortex provides the industry with the most flexible and adaptable solution targeting film; it can be deployed as a retrofit solution in various configurations to accommodate different belt sizes and inclines.
US Tire Factory Earns International Sustainability Certification
Bridgestone’s factory here has become the first tire manufacturing facility in America to earn the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification (ISCC) PLUS recognition for its use of sustainable raw materials to replace synthetic rubber. Bridgestone Americas Inc. has set a goal of making its tires from 100-percent sustainable materials by 2050. “Step by step, we are working to overcome the technological and market barriers to fully sustainable and renewable tires made with bio-sourced and recycled materials,” says Nizar Trigui, chief technology officer and group president of Bridgestone Americas. “This ISCC PLUS certification is an important mile marker in our journey to become a leading sustainable solutions company.”
Installing point source carbon capture on industrial sites
A lack of available physical space and the high costs have both been barriers to widespread deployment of carbon capture systems. However, one original equipment manufacturer (OEM) is focused on overcoming these barriers. Carbon Clean is a carbon capture solutions company headquartered in the UK that provides cost-effective carbon capture technologies for hard-to-abate industries such as cement, steel, energy from waste and refineries. Projects include working with CEMEX, a global leader in the building materials industry, on deploying CycloneCC at its cement plant in Victorville, California and Rüdersdorf plant in Germany. Carbon Clean is also seeking to develop a pilot using CycloneCC with Chevron on a gas turbine in San Joaquin Valley, Calif.
Cemvita Factory is an OEM that specializes in the biological conversion of CO2 into value-added products. Cemvita, which is based in Houston, focuses on offering “microbes-as-a-service” to potential clients who are interested in upgrading their CO2 into useful products. One notable Cemvita Factory project is their partnership with Oxy to convert 1.7 million tons per year of captured CO2 (from a cogeneration power plant) into 1 billion pounds per year of bioethylene.
Machine learning-aided engineering of hydrolases for PET depolymerization
Plastic waste poses an ecological challenge1,2,3 and enzymatic degradation offers one, potentially green and scalable, route for polyesters waste recycling4. Poly(ethylene terephthalate) (PET) accounts for 12% of global solid waste5, and a circular carbon economy for PET is theoretically attainable through rapid enzymatic depolymerization followed by repolymerization or conversion/valorization into other products6,7,8,9,10. Application of PET hydrolases, however, has been hampered by their lack of robustness to pH and temperature ranges, slow reaction rates and inability to directly use untreated postconsumer plastics11. Here, we use a structure-based, machine learning algorithm to engineer a robust and active PET hydrolase. Our mutant and scaffold combination (FAST-PETase: functional, active, stable and tolerant PETase) contains five mutations compared to wild-type PETase (N233K/R224Q/S121E from prediction and D186H/R280A from scaffold) and shows superior PET-hydrolytic activity relative to both wild-type and engineered alternatives12 between 30 and 50 °C and a range of pH levels. We demonstrate that untreated, postconsumer-PET from 51 different thermoformed products can all be almost completely degraded by FAST-PETase in 1 week. FAST-PETase can also depolymerize untreated, amorphous portions of a commercial water bottle and an entire thermally pretreated water bottle at 50 ºC. Finally, we demonstrate a closed-loop PET recycling process by using FAST-PETase and resynthesizing PET from the recovered monomers. Collectively, our results demonstrate a viable route for enzymatic plastic recycling at the industrial scale.
CircularNet: Reducing waste with Machine Learning
The facilities where our waste and recyclables are processed are called “Material Recovery Facilities” (MRFs). Each MRF processes tens of thousands of pounds of our societal “waste” every day, separating valuable recyclable materials like metals and plastics from non-recyclable materials. A key inefficiency within the current waste capture and sorting process is the inability to identify and segregate waste into high quality material streams. The accuracy of the sorting directly determines the quality of the recycled material; for high-quality, commercially viable recycling, the contamination levels need to be low. Even though the MRFs use various technologies alongside manual labor to separate materials into distinct and clean streams, the exceptionally cluttered and contaminated nature of the waste stream makes automated waste detection challenging to achieve, and the recycling rates and the profit margins stay at undesirably low levels.
Enter what we call “CircularNet”, a set of models that lowers barriers to AI/ML tech for waste identification and all the benefits this new level of transparency can offer. Our goal with CircularNet is to develop a robust and data-efficient model for waste/recyclables detection, which can support the way we identify, sort, manage, and recycle materials across the waste management ecosystem.
Data-driven fault identification is key to more sustainable facilities management
HVAC units are central to a building and constitute roughly 50% of a building’s energy consumption. As a result, they are well instrumented and generally follow a rules-based approach. The downside: this approach can lead to many false alarms and building managers rely on manual inspection and occupants to communicate important faults that require attention. Building managers and engineers focus significant time and budget on HVAC systems, but nevertheless HVAC system faults still can account for 5% to 20% of energy waste.
A building’s data model, and the larger building management schema, are established when the building first opens. Alerts, alarms, and performance data are issued through the BMS and a manager will notify a building services team to take action as needed. However, as the building and infrastructure ages many alarms become endemic and are difficult to remedy. Alarm fatigue is a term often used to describe the resulting BMS operator experience.
How Volkswagen and Google Cloud are using machine learning to design more energy-efficient cars
Volkswagen strives to design beautiful, performant, and energy efficient vehicles. This entails an iterative process where designers go through many design drafts, evaluating each, integrating the feedback, and refining. For example, a vehicle’s drag coefficient—its resistance to air—is one of the most important factors of energy efficiency. Thus, getting estimates of the drag coefficient for several designs helps the designers experiment and converge toward more energy-efficient solutions. The cheaper and faster this feedback loop is, the more it enables the designers.
This joint research effort between Volkswagen and Google has produced promising results with the help of the Vertex AI platform. In this first milestone, the team was able to successfully bring recent AI research results a step closer to practical application for car design. This first iteration of the algorithm can produce a drag coefficient estimate with an average error of just 4%, within a second. An average error of 4%, while not quite as accurate as a physical wind tunnel test, can be used to narrow a large selection of design candidates to a small shortlist. And given how quickly the estimates appear, we have made a substantial improvement on the existing methods that take days or weeks. With the algorithm that we have developed, designers can run more efficiency tests, submit more candidates, and iterate towards richer, more effective designs in just a small fraction of the time previously required.
Makersite partners with Autodesk to bring sustainability into product design
Exciting news for the product design world: In our new partnership with Autodesk, the leader in product design software, Makersite combines environmental impact and cost data with Autodesk Fusion 360’s product design data.
Hyundai Steel unveils steel sheets with 30% reduction in carbon emissions
South Korean steelmaker Hyundai Steel Co. announced Tuesday it succeeded in the pilot manufacturing of advanced auto steel sheets using an electric furnace. Thanks to the electric furnace, carbon emissions were reduced by more than 30% when compared to a conventional method that uses iron ore and coal in furnaces. Direct-reduced iron (DRI) is produced from the direct reduction of iron ore into metallic iron by the way of decreasing gas or elemental carbon produced from natural gas or coal.
Sustainability in Aerospace Composites Manufacturing: How AI and IIoT Drive Results
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency defines sustainable manufacturing as the creation of products in a manner that takes environmental factors into consideration and actively seeks to minimize negative impacts while saving on energy and natural resources. Sustainable manufacturing also enhances employee, community and product safety. Naturally, AI and IIoT are leveraged in the composite manufacturing industry in order to enhance material savings, reduce waste and increase throughput while minimizing energy consumption.
Our Industrial Life: S. 2 Ep. 4 - How digitization is decarbonizing industry
Multi-objective optimization of recycling and remanufacturing supply chain logistics network with scalable facility under uncertainty
Recycling and remanufacturing logistics network affects the scale and efficiency of sustainable development of the manufacturing industry. This paper designs a multi-level closed-loop supply chain network with supplier, manufacturer, recycling centers, preprocessing centers and processing centers. An improved nonlinear grey Bernoulli-Markov model is developed to predict the recycled quantity. The capacity of recycling center and preprocessing center, the demand of manufacturer and the inventory of preprocessing center are formulated as constraints. A dynamic multi-objective model, which is based on scalable logistics facilities, takes into account the minimization of system operating costs and minimization of time costs related to the out-of-stock and inventory in each operating cycle. This model realizes the dynamic selection of the scale of facilities. Objective weighted genetic algorithm is adopted to transform multi-objective optimization problem into a single-objective. A scrap automobile products calculations are analyzed to verify the effectiveness and practicability of this model.
Fresh milk and cream: increasing capacities for returnable bottles
Fresh milk produced using traditional methods is the cream of the crop. The Berchtesgadener Land dairy fills this precious commodity in glass bottles. To meet the soaring demand for milk in returnable bottles, the cooperative has replaced its returnable-glass line, which fills organic and mountain farmers’ milk and cream.
The most important requirement for the new line was quality, both in regard to the machines and systems and the products made on them. “Production lines for traditional fresh milk must always give reliable service. We don’t have time for long maintenance routines,” emphasises Althammer. The milk is delivered to the dairy every day and must be dispatched fast, in order to guarantee retailers a minimum shelf life in the cold chain of eight days. What’s more, complying with stringent cleanliness standards in production is the top priority for filling this unsterilised milk. Germs carried in from outside result in faster milk spoilage, meaning the required shelf life would then not be met. When filling into returnable bottles, moreover, contaminated empties must not be allowed to enter the filling zone. That entails stringent requirements for the bottle washer, the filler and overall hygiene standards for the line.
How Amazon learned to cut its cardboard waste
David Gasperino, an Amazon principal research scientist, led the technical development of PackOpt, which is helping Amazon’s stakeholders to not only minimize the amount of “air” shipped to customers, but also helping Amazon deliver on its Climate Pledge commitment to reaching net-zero carbon emissions across its business by 2040.
“To create an optimal set of boxes, you need to select a small subset of columns to pack all of the shipments, and those columns must lead to the smallest overall box volume when you sum it all up,” explains Gasperino. It is a hard challenge — literally. “This problem belongs to a theoretical class of problems called ‘NP hard’
A dual approach to decarbonization in aerospace
Commercial aviation accounted for roughly 3 percent of global CO2 emissions in 2019. When all related factors are included, such as the impact of NOx, contrails, and water vapor, the share could be double that or more. Airlines have already committed to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, but companies within the aerospace industry—airframe OEMs, propulsion specialists, and other suppliers—also have an opportunity to make the greener products. These companies cannot only support their airline customers in decarbonizing flight operations; they can also decarbonize their own operations—the part of the process they truly own.
For a typical narrowbody aircraft, our analysis shows that about 99 percent of the lifetime CO2 emissions come from fuel, including its sourcing and combustion. About 1 percent is attributed to aircraft manufacturing, assembly, and maintenance, or to the materials used in these processes.1 That is significantly different from the lifetime emissions of a typical passenger car, which has a higher share of emissions from manufacturing, assembly, and materials (Exhibit). A large driver for that difference is that cars typically have a shorter operational life than commercial aircraft and get used less each day.
Sustainability SaaS for manufacturers: A market overview
Are you a sustainability manager and have been allocated the task of finding a solution for Scope 3 reporting and Life Cycle Analysis? Inevitably you will be on Google and see: There are (too) many options. When searching for the right tool, it can be difficult to get a clear picture of what they are offering and if they fit what you and your company need. To make life easier, we prepared a table of the most prominent players in the manufacturing industry and the most used functions in sustainability tools. If you want to enter deeper into the topic, you can scroll down and drop us a message for an in-detail market overview to be sent to you.
The 100% Recyclable Running Shoe That’s Only Available by Subscription
To make a shoe that can be ground up, melted down and reincarnated as another shoe, Swiss sportswear brand On didn’t just need new materials and manufacturing processes. It designed a new sales model. In June, On began shipping the first 10,000 pairs of its latest model, starting with U.S. customers. The Cloudneo is pitched as “the shoe you will never own.” Instead, runners pay $29.99 a month for an endless supply, provided they return worn-out pairs to be recycled. On executives say this arrangement will lock in a supply of raw material for new shoes, reducing waste.
Turntide Technologies Exceeds $1 Billion Valuation With $80 Million Fundraise to Accelerate Decarbonization of Buildings, Equipment, and Vehicles
Turntide Technologies (“Turntide”), developer of breakthrough electrification and sustainable operations technologies, today announced it secured $80 million in equity funding, valuing the company over $1 billion, making it one of a handful of climate tech companies to achieve unicorn status in the first half of 2022.
Addressing climate change is more urgent than ever, and we are grateful to work with an investor base that is committed to achieving meaningful, near-term emissions impact,” said Ryan Morris, Chairman and CEO of Turntide. “Even in the face of global economic uncertainty and supply chain upheaval, the market demand for Turntide’s sustainability solutions has enabled us to secure new investments. This capital will accelerate and further scale our efforts to decarbonize the world’s most energy-intensive industries.”
Researchers Consider the Circular Economy in Pulp and Paper Industries
The paper and pulp industries can benefit greatly from a cyclical model of manufacture. These industries are responsible for the consumption of most of the lignocellulosic biomass produced in the world. In 2020, the European paper and pulp industries alone consumed an estimated 146.5 million cubic meters of wood. The transition to a green economy approach is a chief concern in these industries.
Sensible CO2 recycling
Carbon dioxide from technical processes should no longer impact the climate. That is why a key objective of the voestalpine decarbonization strategy is to avoid its generation. But as long as carbon remains an indispensable component, for example in the production of high-quality steels, researchers are also looking into solutions to prevent or recycle CO2 emissions. In cooperation with a team from the K1-MET metallurgical research competence center, voestalpine is tackling this challenge.
Can AI help create less carbon-intensive concrete?
Cement is a popular binding and fortifying agent with a high production cost (and we’re not talking about $$): For every ton of cement produced, at least one ton of CO2 is released into the atmosphere—adding up to at least 8% of annual global emissions. The researchers trained a generative AI model on environmental impact data and a small public dataset. Using semi-supervised learning, the model sought out concrete formulas that checked all of the researchers’ boxes: 1) lower carbon footprint, 2) significant compressive strength, and 3) similar durability and other qualities.
Towards a more circular production in Scania Oskarshamn
Great achievements towards a more circular production are made at Scania’s cab factory In Oskarshamn, Sweden, since 2019. The production is fossil free since 2020, more material is recycled, and the energy consumption has decreased with several thousand MWh.
The beverage sector moving towards sustainable factories
Nevertheless, sustainability consultancy is not tied to Krones products, as Bernd Rothmeier explains: “In the early phases of project development in particular, it is important to focus on identifying the optimum solution, irrespective of possible vendors. We will always consider any and all innovative technologies available on the market.” The department offers comprehensive sustainability consultancy as a separate service for the beverage, dairy and plastics-recycling industries.
Nissan Intelligent Factory
Nissan introduced the Nissan Intelligent Factory initiative at its plant to respond to these needs and trends. Nissan Intelligent Factory enables Nissan to: Use robots that have inherited the skills of takumi to manufacture next-generation vehicles; of the highest quality, Create an improved environment where a wide range of people can work comfortably, and; Realize a zero-emission production system, thereby accelerating efforts to achieve a decarbonized society.
A new perspective on the mining industry
Certain geologies and structures ultimately have different vulnerabilities. Entering known data into a simulated environment or kind of digital twin, can help figure out the unknowns, assisting miners to decide where and how to apply their efforts. This is essential for remotely managed or autonomous vehicles that can achieve low waste, and efficient extractions in harsh or dangerous locations. Autonomous vehicles can actually extend operation hours, increasing productivity as well as reducing the use of energy hungry and personnel centred equipment. In an IoT network these may increasingly incorporate ‘intelligent’ or ‘smart’ devices that not only store or transmit but process data – as in a ‘smart factory’. “We’re seeing opportunities with sustainability oriented projects in Canada and Europe,” Sym-Smith says.
Minexx’s software platform uses blockchain digital distributed ledger, payments, biometric and IoT technologies to create much-needed trust and transparency around quality and methods of production. This helps clients manage aspects of know your customer (KYC) and anti-money laundering regulations as well, giving them and the artisanal miners access to markets and better prices. “Once data is on the blockchain, you can’t change it. Then essentially you give the manufacturer the key,” Scaramanga says.
The business of sustainability in steelmaking
These upgrades at the Train 2 plant allowed ArcelorMittal to save 15-20% on installation, reduce downtime by 5-10%, save 170 equivalent metric tons of CO2, and prevent reprocessing 26 tons of materials. Sensor-based equipment condition monitoring also let the steelmaker’s staff track energy use and identify potential faults before they cause downtime. These improvements also increase the facility’s installation reliability, energy efficiency, personnel safety and equipment life with predictive maintenance.
Make Digital Twins an Integral Part of Your Sustainability Program
Digital solutions provide the visibility, analysis and insight needed to address the challenges inherent in sustainability goals. A digital twin strategy as part of an overall digitalization plan can be a crucial capability for asset intensive industries such as refining and chemicals. A digital twin needs to encompass the entire asset lifecycle and value chain from design and operations through maintenance and strategic business planning.
Comprehensive sustainability solutions are stretching the capabilities of thermodynamic first principle-based digital twins and driving the need for the next generation of solutions. Reduced order hybrid models offer a critical capability to achieve digitalization, sustainability and business goals faster. Reduced-order models can abstract models to enterprise views which inform executive awareness and strategic decision-making. Site-wide models can run faster and more intuitively to drive agile decision-making and optimize assets to achieve safety, sustainability and profit.
Design for Sustainability
Typically, product designers select a few focuses, for instance, design for manufacturing (DFM), design for assembly (DFA) and design for reliability (DFR), and optimise those aspects of the product. Every design decision is evaluated in the light of the selected focus or focuses and relevant changes are then made taking the full life cycle of the product into account.
A sustainable alternative to this system is the circular economy. The main focus of this type of economic model is to reintroduce used parts as raw materials for new products. The intent is to move from a high-waste to a high-value model. Such a system is highly resource-efficient and reduces the effect of consumer demand on the exploration, pollution, and wastage of natural resources. Models such as biomimicry, cradle-to-cradle, product service systems (PSS), 4Rs, are all strategies that can provide design features to achieve a circular economy.
How 3D printing improves sustainability across the supply chain
After analyzing several studies about energy efficiency of 3D printing, the answer is not as simple. Due to very individual use cases (machine, product and process characteristics), comparability of traditional methods and 3D printing is not always generally possible. While compared with subtractive methods, 3D printing can be more energy efficient (especially due to lesser material consumption). The energy consumption of 3D printing compared to injection molding is generally considered to be higher due to a way longer production time per part (less than a minute per part for injection molding, several hours for 3D printing). However, other factors such as the energy consumption for producing the mold, the production volume and material efficiency have to be taken into account. When looking into lower volumes, it becomes a fact that additive manufacturing is a more sustainable production method, regarding energy efficiency.
Sensors: Data for next-gen composites manufacturing
Suppliers of dielectric sensors such as Lambient Technologies (Cambridge, Mass., U.S.), Netzsch (Selb, Germany) and Synthesites (Uccle, Belgium) have also demonstrated their ability to shorten cycle times. Synthesites reported from R&D projects with composites manufacturers Hutchinson (Paris, France) and Bombardier Belfast, now Spirit AeroSystems (Belfast, Ireland), that it was able to reduce the cure cycle for RTM6 by 30-50% based on real-time measurements of resin electrical resistance and temperature, which are converted into estimated viscosity and Tg by its Optimold data acquisition unit and Optiview software. “The manufacturer can see the Tg in real time, so they can decide when to stop the cure cycle,” explains Synthesites director Nikos Pantelelis. “They don’t have to wait to complete a longer-than-necessary legacy cycle. For example, the legacy cycle for RTM6 is 2 hours at 180°C for full cure. We’ve seen that in certain geometries this can go down to 70 minutes.”
Collo has worked with manufacturers of epoxy adhesive, paint and even beer to create a process profile for each batch produced. Each manufacturer can now see the dynamics of its process and set more optimal parameters, with alarms to enable intervention when the batch is out of spec. This helps to stabilize and improve quality.
A Framework for Ensuring Safe Plant Design and Operation in the Process Industries
The safety of industrial plants is a prerequisite for reassuring local communities and achieving a sustainable society. The process industries operate large, complex man-machine systems and even a single accident in a plant could cause immense damage to facilities, local communities, and the environment, and, in an extreme case, could destabilize the whole of society. To prevent such serious accidents, laws and regulations concerning process safety were discussed globally and the concept of risk reduction with multiple protection layers and a management system through the design and operation of safety instrumented systems was established as a framework for the safety of the process industries. This paper reviews this framework with reference to the trend of related standardization activities and introduces how AI is used to support safety in the process industries.
Product sustainability: Back to the drawing board
Up to four-fifths of a product’s lifetime emissions are determined by decisions made at the design stage. By building on proven cost-optimization techniques, companies can get those choices right.
Two factors are pushing design up the sustainability agenda. The first is technological: an ongoing shift of lifetime emissions from product operation to product production. The shift is partly thanks to user demand for extra features and capabilities that require additional materials to deliver. But it’s also because technical changes designed to promote efficient operation tend to involve additional product complexity. For example, domestic heat pumps require more materials than the gas or oil boilers they replace. Compared with their energy-hungry predecessors, high-efficiency electric motors may contain additional carbon-intensive materials, including extra copper and rare-earth magnets. The variable-frequency drives that are used to optimize the control of these advanced motors need their own circuitry and semiconductor components.
ABB’s Paper Mill Technology Helps Renewcell Turn Old Clothes Into New Fabrics
In recent years, the pulp and paper industry has gone from having a reputation of being dirty and environmentally unfriendly to being a leader in sustainability and pollution control. Now the technologies that enabled that transition are being used to help the textile industry too. And the players involved are restarting a shuttered paper mill in Sweden to make it happen, once more providing good-paying jobs for the area.
Renewcell is the Sweden-based scaleup at the center of it all. The company developed a sustainable process that recycles waste textiles into a product called Circulose, whose name is the tip-off that it’s aimed at making fashion circular.
How pioneering deep learning is reducing Amazon’s packaging waste
Fortunately, machine learning approaches — particularly deep learning — thrive on big data and massive scale, and a pioneering combination of natural language processing and computer vision is enabling Amazon to hone in on using the right amount of packaging. These tools have helped Amazon drive change over the past six years, reducing per-shipment packaging weight by 36% and eliminating more than a million tons of packaging, equivalent to more than 2 billion shipping boxes.
“When the model is certain of the best package type for a given product, we allow it to auto-certify it for that pack type,” says Bales. “When the model is less certain, it flags a product and its packaging for testing by a human.” The technology is currently being applied to product lines across North America and Europe, automatically reducing waste at a growing scale.
Humber Zero: decarbonising an industrial cluster
The Humber is an industrial hub with an economy worth £18bn GVA and where one in ten jobs is associated with heavy industry. Two oil refineries, the second largest chemicals and process clusters, and an integrated steelworks all contribute to the Humber being the most carbon-intensive industrial cluster in the UK.
Blue hydrogen is the main focus at Immingham although Phillips 66 is progressing Gigastack, a green hydrogen project separate to Humber Zero that along with project partners ITM, Ørsted and Element Energy aims to generate green hydrogen and electricity from nearby offshore wind and electrolysis.
How Eastman Strives for a Circular Plastics Economy
“Mechanical recycling—where you go out and take items like single-use bottles, chop, wash and re-meld them and put them back into textiles or bottles—can only really address a small portion of the plastics that are out there,” Crawford said. After a few cycles, the polymers in the products degrade and the process is no longer possible.
Instead, Eastman uses advanced, also known as molecular or chemical, recycling. “We unzip the plastic back to its basic building blocks, then purify those building blocks to create new materials,” Crawford said. This “creates an infinite loop because that polymer can go through that process time and time again.”
Never Heard of Recycled Paint? You Have Now! - Dulux Trade Evolve
Material World: A Greener and Smarter Future for Textile Production
The environmental impact of textile production is well documented, with the industry as a whole ranking second only to oil in terms of global pollution levels. Massive energy and water use, together with sky-high levels of discarded chemicals and landfill waste are all key drivers in the calls for closed-loop production.
“3D design packages help designers optimize materials and design for minimal or zero waste, for example through lay efficiencies when laying pattern pieces out, or through calculating how to knit a garment in one piece without any yarn waste. Smart processes can also influence sourcing and supply strategies, for example through using computer algorithms to predicts waste or production inefficiencies, or fabric performance issues.”
Why more manufacturers are turning to microgrids
Microgrids offer manufacturers a flexible platform to head off these issues — ensuring power is reliable, enabling renewable energy for sustainability goals, controlling energy costs and attracting customers and investors that want manufacturers to continuously raising the bar on ESG performance. A microgrid can help control energy generation, usage and cost stability.
A well-designed microgrid can bring efficient, low-cost power as well as reliability and resiliency benefits to critical infrastructure. A microgrid with robust controls and up-to-date cybersecurity supports operational flexibility while providing predictable costs optimized for both efficiency and sustainability.
An investment in a microgrid can act as insurance for continued growth, success and innovation. A power disruption brings vulnerability, loss of time and money — a microgrid puts you back in charge.
Flash Joule heating by Rice lab recovers precious metals from electronic waste in seconds
Global Lighthouse Network: Unlocking Sustainability through Fourth Industrial Revolution Technologies
The Global Lighthouse Network is a community of production sites and other facilities that are world leaders in the adoption and integration of the cutting-edge technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR). Lighthouses apply 4IR technologies such as artificial intelligence, 3D-printing and big data analytics to maximize efficiency and competitiveness at scale, transform business models and drive economic growth, while augmenting the workforce, protecting the environment and contributing to a learning journey for all-sized manufacturers across all geographies and industries.
Pharma Sets a Foundation for Greener API Manufacturing
To contribute to the reduction of CO2 and GHG emissions, all drug developers and manufacturers need to seriously consider measures to improve sustainability throughout each phase of their industrial processes, according to Weng. “The pharmaceutical industry is due for a major overhaul in all aspects of its unit operations. Essentially, the pharmaceutical industry should be evaluating sustainable alternatives for all current exercises that rely on fossil fuel inputs,” he sates.
The best time to consider optimal, sustainable production solutions is during the design of the synthetic route to an intermediate/API, notes Martin, because once these processes are validated, it is very challenging to introduce any changes, even if they offer significant improvements in productivity and sustainability.
Parts cleaning: the manufacturing maintenance saving you’ve never heard of
“Our new process, developed with the new Automatic Aqueous cleaning machine solution supplied by Safetykleen, reduced the cleaning cycle from 30 minutes down to 7 minutes!,” said a spokesperson at Knorr-Bremse “Not only was the cleaning time reduced but the cleaning is now more efficient and has significantly less environmental impact.”
The use of a parts washer can dramatically decrease the personnel time required for the cleaning component of maintenance and allows maintenance workers to focus on the key tasks of disassembly, reassembly and testing. According to feedback from users, an automatic parts washing machine can complete two days’ worth of manual cleaning in around 3 hours and reduce maintenance personnel requirements by 23%.
Can a Green-Economy Boom Town Be Built to Last?
The epicenter of that boom is an electric-vehicle maker named Rivian, which brought in Mr. Mosier’s company and others in the Normal, Ill., area to work on the city’s costliest construction project in decades: a massive auto plant.
As it prepares to deliver its first electric pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles this year, Rivian has spent around $1.5 billion renovating and expanding a factory once owned by Mitsubishi. On a typical day the 3.3-million-square-foot plant hosts several hundred construction workers alongside more than 2,500 workers employed by the company, which expects to eventually double its local head count.
Before the Flood: How Technology Is Helping Build Water Resilience Around the Globe
At Veolia Water Technologies—a division of global water, waste, and energy management giant Veolia—the company’s developers are working on new ways to prepare cities for the inevitable. They’re applying digital and IoT technologies and predictive analytics to build water-resilience management techniques such as flood modeling, sustainable drainage design, clean water distribution, and resource optimization.
The Big Semiconductor Water Problem
Circular Car Factories
The next big shift will be an environmentally friendly movement dubbed the “circular auto factory.” According to some experts, the circular cars initiative will reshape the auto industry during the next two decades, as OEMs and suppliers attempt to achieve net-zero carbon emissions across the entire vehicle life cycle.
The term “circular car” refers to a theoretical vehicle that has efficiently maximized its use of aluminum, carbon-fiber composites, glass, fabric, rubber, steel, thermoplastics and other materials. Ideally, it would produce zero material waste and zero pollution during manufacture, utilization and disposal.
One of the key elements of a circular car factory is a closed-loop recycling program where disassembly lines are housed in the same facility as traditional final assembly lines. All vehicle components and materials are remanufactured, reused and recycled at the end of life.
Five companies make a quarter of world’s single use plastics
The top 5 companies created roughly 26 million metric tones of plastic waste fueled by demand of the United States and China.
Circular Economy 3D Printing: Opportunities to Improve Sustainability in AM
Within the 3D printing sector alone, there are various initiatives currently underway to develop closed-loop manufacturing processes that reuse and repurpose waste materials. Within the automotive sector, Groupe Renault is creating a facility entirely dedicated to sustainable automotive production through recycling and retrofitting vehicles using 3D printing, while Ford and HP have teamed up to recycle 3D printing waste into end-use automotive parts.
One notable project that is addressing circular economy 3D printing is BARBARA (Biopolymers with Advanced functionalities foR Building and Automotive parts processed through Additive Manufacturing), a Horizon 2020 project that brought together 11 partners from across Europe to produce bio-based materials from food waste suitable for 3D printing prototypes in the automotive and construction sectors.
How Honeywell's CEO is turning the legacy manufacturer into a SaaS player
Cumulatively, it marked a significant step forward in Adamczyk’s vision to turn Honeywell from a legacy industrial manufacturer into a top software provider for sectors like real estate, life sciences and aviation.
“The one common fiber across all our businesses is we are a controls company,” he told Protocol at an event on Tuesday. “When you’re a controls company, you’re connected to everything, you’re connected to all the systems in that building, in that aircraft. We use that data to drive controls, but we could use that data to drive energy savings, to drive efficiency.”
How to optimize cleaning in place (CIP) duration?
Cleaning systems regularly disinfect the entire production lines. They consist of stainless steel tanks, storage tanks, pumps, valves and piping and integrate connections with the production equipment. In a medium-sized factory, the cleaning stations wash up to 250 pieces of equipment per day to avoid contamination from one batch to another (by bacteria or micro-organisms).
When the equipment is being cleaned, disinfected or sterilised, it is not in a position to produce. CIP thus has a direct impact on the uptime rate of production lines. Furthermore, CIPs require large volumes of water, the scarcity of which is becoming increasingly critical looking at the needs of a factory estimated at several tens of thousands of cubic meters per year. Optimising CIPs is therefore an essential lever for any manufacturer who aims to increase the availability of production lines while significantly reducing its water consumption, in other words to achieve eco-efficiency.
Dell is making jewelry with reclaimed gold from recycled computer guts
Simplified Factory Energy Management System based on operational condition estimation by sensor data
This paper describes a visualization technique to analyze causalities among the productivity indices and energy for improving energy efficiency of factory equipment. Recently, energy-saving has been important worldwide. Especially, energy-saving for factories is very important in manufacturing. Meanwhile, productivity indices must be kept in manufacturing process. Thus, we realize the improvement of energy efficiency on factory equipment by adding our visualization technique to conventional Factory Energy Management System. Our visualization technique quantifies the operational condition of equipment by the energy consumption and the equipment behavior. As the result of the visualization in our factory, our proposed technique could successfully improve the energy efficiency on a molding machine, a press machine and compressors without a negative effect to the productivity that means production volume and supply pressure.
Enerize E3 Factory Energy Management System
The Enerize E3 factory energy management system is the first system in the industry to succeed in visualizing the energy key performance indicator (KPI). This makes it possible to standardize energy management and encourage all members in a factory to participate in energy-saving activities. The system is built by modeling energy supplying utility equipment, and energy-consuming and production equipment. This paper reports its development and features.
In order to continually practice energy-saving activities that encourage full participation, indicators that serve as criteria are necessary. Yokogawa defines these indicators as energy key performance indicators (KPIs), and proposes using the KPIs for identifying points where energy can be saved and utilizing them as subsequent management criteria.