Large scale interactive multi-touch displays
None of the existing technical solutions is capable of meeting specification for interactive displays with a diagonal size exceeding 40”. Alterix has developed a new algorithm for running fast and highly sensitive touch measurements. The inherently low cost of the solution make it possible to integrate multi-touch functionality into medium and large scale displays with up to 85” diagonal size for large volume markets. It is of strategic importance for us to develop cheap manufacturing methods for large touch display overlays and to provide new ways for integrating our proprietary electronics with the physical sensor grid structure. With this view we aim to develop novel approaches based on using ultrafine nearly invisible metallic wire grids. Our new design will help to replace the indium material in touch display overlays and will improve recyclability of the final product enabling the recovery of the glass and laminate materials at the end of the product life.
Axion Recycling Ltd.
Outdoor media banners – Design for recycling
Outdoor media waste from predominantly plastic advertising banners produces an estimated 1.1 million square metres of material each year. This waste stream is not currently reused and is difficult to recycle due to the design, construction and mix of materials used to produce the banners. Axion is proposing a collaboration with members of the outdoor media supply chain including; the Outdoor Media Centre, advertising/media companies and designers and manufacturers of advertising banners in order to improve upon current banner designs. The primary objective is to produce a fully and easily recyclable banner, with a secondary objective to explore opportunities for novel printing techniques to overprint plastic sheeting for reuse. Re-designing the advertising banners will greatly assist future reuse and recycling efforts and help to support the establishment of an industry wide collection and recycling scheme.
Bond Retail Services Limited
Feasibility Studies to implement the Circular Economy model in large retail food cabinets.
The retail food sector is a large consumer of environmental resources. This project is focused on large fridges, freezers and cold cabinets deployed in the major UK supermarkets and food stores. Research shows that the life cycle of retail refrigeration display equipment is short (3-9 years) and minimal equipment recycling takes. Of the 800,000 food display cabinets deployed in over 9000 supermarkets in the UK, less than 13% are recycled. This project is to support a number of scientifically based feasibility studies which will investigate the complete manufacturing life cycle of these products to make clear recommendations on how to concurrently reduce the use of material and increase re-use and thus to minimise waste. In short, the aim is to implement the circular economy model with a leading UK supplier of these products.
Bottle Alley Glass
Develop a specification for a product made from waste glass bottles that can be used in place of conventional building materials. The aim is to extend the time the glass remains in active use, add value to the UK economy and achieve a reduction in carbon doxide emissions over the life cycle of the product.
Reducing the Environmental Impact of Branded Event Communications
Thousands of exhibitions are held each year, attracting millions of visitors but there is little focus on negative environmental impacts. We have conducted research to investigate and identify the environmental concerns and impacts from exhibition stands. Partnering with Cranfield University, an exhibition stand design using sustainable materials has been developed. It comprises of a jigsaw panel system and interlocking mechanism. This is a modular approach to stand design which we believe is innovative because it would be reusable, while meeting the demands of creative stand design that the industry requires. This funding will enable us to carry out a full lifecycle assessment of the concept. We will also build a prototype so that a feasibility study can be conducted on the materials and reusability of the stand.
Assessing the through life impact and understanding the implementation steps to using bio-polymers for Dyson products
Dyson products are primarily made from plastic and therefore require significant investment in managing their through life impact. This feasibility study aims to evaluate the potential for using 2nd generation bio-based polymers as an environmentally beneficial alternative to conventional polymers. Evidence suggests that these new materials could lead to significant through life benefits if a closed loop recycling process could be established but it is still unclear where such materials may be appropriate and what the true through life benefit could be. This study looks to explore this by understanding where 2nd generation bio-based polymers can be used, what are the true through life benefits and ultimately what does the roadmap for realising this look like.
Nano Particle Polymer Enhancement for Recycling Sustainability (PPERS)
Using an innovative process technology, Haydale Ltd. have developed a cost effective route to both manufacture and disperse nanoparticles such as graphene and carbon nanotubes. With funding from the TSB a feasibility study will be undertaken to establish how modification to the performance of polymers can be used to enhance the properties and performance of recycled polymers, thereby enabling the circular economy to be sustained.
Return to Sender
35 million paintbrushes are discarded each year in the UK, clogging landfills and wasting resources, creating an estimated 5000 tons of waste. In most cases, brushes are disposed-of due to poor cleaning by consumers, while the handles could be reused immediately. Other ‘circular’ barriers are that no closed loop collection system exists to take used brushes back, plus suitable end-of-life options for them are not clear either. This project will see Kingfisher and Seymourpowell explore the design of a system to reload brush heads so that consumers can maintain and reuse their paintbrush handles. As part of this we plan to design a returnable packaging system in which consumers can put used bristle heads into the original packaging and post it back to the retailer, who will identify and manage a circular end-of-life route for this to avoid landfill – be that reuse, or as technical or biological cycles.
Circular Design for an Economy Power Tool
This project will conduct a feasibility study into the re-design of power tools to retain material within the economy over several cycles of use, thus “closing the loop”. The goal is that the new designs should lead to products with a lower environmental impact, and less dependency on strategic materials. The project will deliver a series of implementable design changes which will make power tool products more suitable for repair and reuse, without introducing additional net costs. These design changes will be disseminated to the group of Kingfisher companies (B&Q, Castorama, Brico Depot, Screwfix, Koctas) and more widely disseminated to the home improvement retail sector.
Kingfisher’s new ‘ProjectBox’ solution will enable our customers to hire, rather than buy, all the tools, consumables and support materials that they require to complete common household DIY tasks, such as shelving, flooring, plastering and tiling. Each ProjectBox will be carefully tailored to provide the exact tools that our customers require to complete a specific task. The boxes will also provide a clear set of instructions about how to use the products together with hint and tips about how to achieve the best overall result.
By diverting those customers who have only a periodic requirement for access to tools and equipment towards this new rental service, ProjectBox will enable Kingfisher to provide people with access to much higher quality tools and equipment whilst also reducing total material consumption.
Phineas Products Ltd
Feasibility of Implementing a Circular Economic Business Model for Phineas Products
Phineas Products Ltd designs, manufactures and distributes over fifty million shoe hangers per annum, most of which are used in the United Kingdom. Their current business model uses a linear system where products are predominantly manufactured in China from virgin materials and shipped the UK. This project will evaluate the economic and environmental impacts, as well as the technical feasibility of transitioning to a circular economic model, where products are manufactured in the UK from UK-sourced recycled material and designed to be reused over closed loop cycles, and recycled only when the product has reached the end of its usable lifetime. Materials analysis will be conducted to explore the mechanical properties of the new design and four potential circular business models will be compared to the current baseline system to indicate relative costs and environmental life cycle benefits.
A New Lease of Life for Expired Electric Car Batteries
This project will investigate the potential to use expired batteries from electric cars as the energy storage batteries of a stationary electrical energy storage device.
Development of an innovative, reclaimed textile fiber furniture range
This project aims to reinvigorate the textile recycling sector by adapting traditional nonwoven recycling techniques for a new, high value application – furniture manufacture. If successfully commercialised this will tackle a priority waste stream (post consumer textiles) and create a closed loop furniture range designed for extended materials use. The project team will explore new furniture designs, develop prototypes, undertake market testing and explore innovative business models which will engage the consumer in end of life textiles collection. This responds to the following 4 opportunities: 1. large supply of raw materials (0.8M tonnes of textiles sent to landfill each year from households in the UK (WRAP), 2. Increasing interest in end of life textiles applications (e.g within the Sustainable Clothing Roadmap),3. an experienced textile reprocessing sector, and 4. increasing consumer interest in sustainable and UK manufactured furniture.
Coffee Board: Designing an energy-light closed loop system for waste coffee and plastics
Re-worked is a not-for-profit company that sets out to reduce the amount of post-consumer coffee and plastic waste that gets sent to landfill and offer a closed loop coffee recycling service to business. The funding will be used to redesign and commercialise a product called Çurface that is a composite of waste coffee grounds and plastics. There is high demand from businesses to use Çurface as a construction material, however the processing costs are currently too high. Initial research suggests that a new processing design and technique could reduce the energy intensity, amount of materials and manual labour required in manufacture, making Çurface more commercially viable for its target customers. The feasibility study will conduct further investigations into this new processing technique, create prototypes and trial a closed loop coffee recycling service collecting coffee waste and then fitting the newly designed Çurface in a London-based coffee shop.
Rich Coles Packaging Associates Limited
Design of re-usable biomaterial packaging systems for the chilled meat and fish industry.
Expanded polystyrene (EPS) is a significant contributor to landfill – to a point where many city authorities, such as New York, are seeking to ban it’s use from food packaging. Finding viable alternatives to EPS is therefore a rapidly growing problem for a sustainable food industry. This study investigates the design of logistical packaging systems utilising biomaterials. These renewable resource materials offer greater durability for re-use, ease of compostability and recyclability. Layered or sandwiched biomaterial systems are especially appropriate for improved packaging design solutions as their properties e.g. insulation, can be highly tailored to the unique logistical/user and commercial needs across different sectors of the food industry. In addition they are a natural candidate for innovation e.g ‘flat-packing’ to assist reuse and return.
Investigation of the use of silicone sponge tube and design study of other components in solar thermal collector
Most solar thermal systems in Northern Europe have a separate antifreeze filled loop for protection against freezing and require a new tank fitted with a heat exchanger. When retrofitting to existing homes this means that a perfectly good tank (usually copper) needs to be replaced. We have developed an innovative solution that allows a domestic water supply to be heated directly, without the secondary fluid cycle. This increases the efficiency of the system and reduces capital and installation costs. Our solution allows the system to freeze but cause no system damage by using a compressible closed cell silicone sponge tube within an outer copper pipe. When it freezes the compressible tube takes up the expansion due to the ice and prevents pressure build up and damage to the system. This study will determine the optimum specification of the silicone sponge tube by trialling various specifications of tubes and sizes in a real world situation as well as freeze tests.
Toyota (GB) PLC
Design requirements in product, process, organisation for End-of-Life Vehicle (ELV) to achieve Circular Economy State
How can an innovative value chain promote a circular economy for End-of-Life Vehicles (ELVs)? Toyota will address this challenge by investigating the opportunities to use innovative configurations of their value chain (system redesign options for ELV recovery and treatment system) to close the loop of materials embedded in ELVs. By better understanding the environmental, social and economic implications of such network configurations, this study will provide a strong foundation for Toyota to develop its business plan to move towards a circular economy for the wider benefit of UK society including Toyota customers.
Useful Simple Projects
Polarising designs: Redesigning neodymium magnets (NDM) for the circular economy.
Neodymium Disk Magnets (NDMs) are found in many everyday items, including; headphones, cordless tools, drive motors for hybrid cars, loudspeakers and microphones. Of the 66,800t produced worldwide, 33,000t of magnets are used in Hard Disk Drives (HDDs) each year, with a total carbon impact of 298,980tCO2e. Given the high value of the raw materials, the carbon emissions associated with their production and the rarity of neodymium (100 years at today’s consumption rates), it makes financial and economic sense to close the loop. We will carry out a feasibility study into the creation of standardised sizing for NDMs within the electronics sector, focusing on application within hard disk drives (HDDs). The study aims to design closed loop systems that will reduce consumption of virgin neodymium in ‘new’ magnets, and enable NDMs to be reclaimed during disposal of HDDs.
Useful Simple Projects
Design of new tools for closed loop manufacturing
A recent study by Mckinsey, entitled “Resource Revolution”, identified that security of supply and cost of materials pose a major threat to the manufacturing industry. 36% of the world’s raw materials are wasted as a result of inefficiencies and far too many resources end up in landfill. Population growth and rising prosperity in the developing world will make these issues more acute. Re-thinking and re-engineering the product manufacturing industry around circular economy principles can help address these problems and reduce waste and pollution. We are designing new product services and tools in collaboration with selected manufacturing businesses that will help them transition towards a closed loop approach to manufacturing. Lessons learned will be shared with industry at large and design and business colleges.
We All Design
Project Recover and unBuild: Beyond WEEE regulation
We are investigating the feasibility of using Kyocera products to drive new industry programme for the recovery, disassembly and reprocessing of materials, including those marked as critical by the EU, used in electrical goods. The hope is to retain all the materials value within the UK economy, increase supply chain security and decrease the environmental impact associated with mining raw materials.