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Resource security is, as well as a sustainable energy supply, one of the central challenges of the 21st century. Due to its geographical resource scarcity, Germany is in particular need of the closure of material cycles and the usage of secondary raw materials.

With that in mind, the research cooperation „RessourcenKolleg.NRW – Ressourcengewinnung aus gemischten Abfallfraktionen“ between RWTH Aachen University and Münster University of Applied Sciences will start in May 2013. The goal of the collaboration is to research the recovery and re-utilization of valuable metals from mixed waste fractions that are rich in composite materials, for example electronic waste, light shredder fractions, fractions from construction and infrastructure, with simultaneous material and/or energetic use of the synthetic part. Likewise, the metallurgical usage of coke generated during the thermochemical treatment of composite fractions will be considered in the graduate school. Eight doctoral projects will be set up in the graduate school concentrating on specific, individual questions.

At RWTH Aachen University, the Department of Processing and Recycling, the Institute for Machine Elements and Machine Design (IME) and the Unit of Technology of Fuels (TEER) will participate in the project. The Laboratory for Waste Management, Urban Water Management and Environmental Chemistry will be responsible for the project management. Other participating institutes of the Münster University of Applied Sciences will be the Construction Management/Project Management Teaching and Research Division and the Fluid Mechanics and Flow Simulation Laboratory.

In the course of the research cooperation, the thermochemical processing of metalliferous concentrates from mixed wastes will be examined at TEER. In this context, the potential of composite separation and metal recovery is to be identified. The findings are to be used for the development of an efficient and environment-friendly process to enable metal recovery.

The support initiative „NRW.Forschungskooperationen Uni & FH“ allows the participating universities to expand and stabilize the existing cooperation.