LIFE PST SORT: large-scale innovation in materials sorting

by | Apr 19, 2021 | innovation | 0 comments

In September 2018, Calaf Grup launched the LIFE PST SORT project. Thanks to funding from the European Union’s LIFE research and innovation programme, a 1,000 m2 demonstration and test plant was designed and built to test an innovative material sorting solution. The plant, located on the group’s premises, was equipped with PICVISA’s optical and inductive separation.

More than two years later, the project is still active, having successfully passed through several stages. According to the work plan, it will be completed in October 2021.


What are the objectives of LIFE PST SORT?

LIFE PST SORT aims to prove the effectiveness of innovative dry Post Shredding Technology (PST) in the recovery of secondary raw materials from Automotive Shredder Residues (ASR) from End of Life Vehicles (ELV).

Specifically, work is being done to:

  • Drive greater resource efficiency by increasing the sorting performance of ELV waste, most of which ends up in landfills or incinerators.
  • Validate the sorting capacity of the solution with full-scale ASR streams.
  • Contribute to the sustainability of the automotive industry.

In the demonstration plant, metals, plastics, glass and rubber are recovered from ELV shredder rejects. In addition, solid recovered fuel (SRF) streams containing polyurethane foams, wood, paper and board, and textiles are purified. Recyclable materials can also be recovered from WEEE waste streams, incineration slags, municipal and industrial waste.

Recovery processes are fully automated (no manual treatment of waste) and do not emit leachate.

In addition, the modularity of the technological solution allows it to be adapted to almost any type of ELV shredder, heavy and light fluff rejects treatment and waste recycling plant. This means that it supports changes in incoming flow content while maintaining high throughput levels.


What results is LIFE PST SORT achieving?

Recently, LIFE PST SORT reached two important milestones in the demonstration (B4) and replication (B5) stages of the technological solution. On the one hand, a maximum capacity of 10.4 t/h of treated material was reached in the demonstration plant. This is higher than the maximum design capacity of 8.0 t/h.

On the other hand, significant improvements were made in the application of Artificial Intelligence algorithms for the automated separation of materials in the plant’s PICVISA equipment. These changes have contributed to exceeding the 56% recovery rate of heavy fluff plastics from ELVs, including the significant proportion of black plastics.

For metals, recovery levels reached 88% for ferrous metals and 86% for non-ferrous metals, including heavy and light fluff fractions between 15mm and 40mm. In addition, flat waste such as glass is recovered at levels of 87%, while printed circuit board (PCB) scraps exceed 92% recovery.

However, many other materials can be recovered in a grouped or separate manner, whether they are destined for CSR – recovered to levels of 86 to 88% – or for specific recyclable streams (rubber, wood, paper and cardboard, polyurethane foam or textiles).


One project, several beneficiaries

LIFE PST SORT has raised the interest of recycling companies, ELV and other solid waste managers. In addition, public bodies and research centres can also benefit from the demonstration and test centre located in Calaf (Barcelona).

Calaf Grup can provide further details, such as investment and operating cost estimates for the equipment that has been developed in this project. In the same way, it can also provide you with information regarding the PICVISA equipment that make up the plant.

The LIFE PST SORT project perfectly reflects PICVISA’s commitment to innovation. The company works closely with waste management and recycling companies to increase their productivity with Artificial Vision and Artificial Intelligence solutions.

Keep browsing the website and discover more interesting information about us and the sector.


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