B.1 Undertaking and interpreting the LCA of the reuse process

During this action the life cycle assessment (LCA) of the WEEE reuse process will be carried out and interpreted in order to compare it to the recycling process.

The aim of this action is to confirm and demonstrate that the reuse process can result in a reduction in CO2 emissions.

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B.2 Outlining of the protocol and scope of the processes and initial business plan

This phase of the study seeks to develop the requirements of the reuse process from a theoretical perspective, to ensure that the resulting product is suitable for the industry. The theoretical process only seeks to provide a framework in the area of engineering in order to develop islands of agreement with energy efficiency, profitability and safety criteria in the resulting material.

Throughout the process, special consideration will be paid to ensuring the traceability of the waste, its recording in the accounts and the technological component required to obtain the greatest reuse cost-effectiveness possible.

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  • Brief summary in English of the Outlining of the protocol and scope of the processes and initial business plan

  • B.3 Layout of the process to be demonstrated

    B.3 action consists of designing the layout of the industrial process required for the reuse of computer equipment (WEEE) and the physical assembly of two operational work islands demonstrating the procedure. The CIMA group, made up of doctors and researchers from the Mechanical Engineering Department of the Universidade de Vigo's School of Industrial Engineering, will be responsible for carrying out this work, defining the process in terms of a production system design approach with a focus on two key aspects: the composing of "recycled" computer equipment through the re-combination of reused elements from disposed‑of equipment and/or the application‑reuse of these hardware elements for other electronic components of use to the industry.

    When designing the work islands, their size will be completely defined, as will the utilities (electricity, air, water and lighting) they require, the tools needed for each phase of the process, their maintenance and ecological waste disposal needs, product storage areas - initial and final - and intermediate components, management and control support software, etc. This will be undertaken bearing in mind productivity and cost objectives, without ignoring key aspects regarding hygiene, ergonomics and the safety of the operators working on the various phases of the process.

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    B.4 Reuse demos

    B.4 action focuses on creating four processes demonstrating the use of reused computer equipment. Based on the results from earlier stages focusing on the reuse of disposed‑of computer equipment, processes which make use of the recovered material are designed and implemented. The first demonstration uses recovered material to create a building air-conditioning control and lighting system. The second demonstration creates a cluster of computers for grid processing. The third demonstration creates perimeter security devices for intranets. The fourth demonstration starts up general-purpose computers.

    B.5 Establishment of reuse service requirements/standards

    The aim of the B.5 action is to propose modifications to the existing European and Spanish legal structures in order to ensure an increase in the reuse of electrical devices and efficiency in the supplying of these services (i.e. the establishment of requirements/standards), based on current law and the results from other actions of this project with a technical focus.

    B.6 Overall economic results and industrial scalability

    The B.6 action is key to demonstrating the replicability of the project on a larger scale than in the demonstrations. Here the aim is to analyse the most efficient manner in economic terms, from a cost-profit analysis perspective, of repeating the proposed reuse method on an industrial level in such a way that it is as attractive as possible to reuse companies. As far as industrial standards are concerned, the point of reference will be the report resulting from the B6 action with a view to putting it into practice. The objective is thus to demonstrate the feasibility of the LIFE+ project (the demonstration of the industrial reuse process) on a greater scale to show its attractiveness to companies that might potentially make use of it. It is therefore a key action which ensures the sustainability of the most important aspect of the project: the fully validated reuse of WEEE, from its practical demonstration to its economic feasibility.

    etapa b6