Funded by: Regione Lombardia  
Calls: Accordo Quadro Regione Lombardia/CNR
Start date: 2016-12-15  End date: 2019-06-30
Total Budget: EUR 2.075.000,00  INO share of the total budget: EUR 86.260,00
Scientific manager: Lorenzo Molinari Tosatti   and for INO is: Baratto Camilla

Organization/Institution/Company main assignee: CNR – Istituto di Tecnologie Industriali e Automazione (ITIA)

other Organization/Institution/Company involved:
ICFO – Institut de Ciencies Fotoniques, Fundacio Privada Castelldefels (Barcel

other INO’s people involved:

Alessandri Ivano
Bontempi Nicolò
Faglia Guido Pietro

Abstract: As part of the shift towards a circular economy, the European Commission has identified the so called waste hierarchy. This hierarchy defines a priority order in waste management, assigning the first place to prevention, followed by preparation for re-use, recycling, energy recovery, and, finally, disposal (in landfill, for example). According to the waste collection and management policies, recycling rates can be increased and valuable materials can be reintroduced in the economy, instead of feeding an inefficient system, in which most of the recyclable waste is sent to disposal or incinerators, with potentially harmful impact on the environment and significant economic losses. Nowadays, only 36% of the total produced waste is recycled on average in Europe, while about 48% is sent to landfill for disposal. However, this average hides the wide disparities that subsist among member Countries and regions: actually some areas recycle up to 80% of waste, while in other areas this percentage is less than 5%. The EU sustainable development strategy and its seventh environment action program, which identifies waste prevention and management as one of the seven thematic strategies, highlight the existing relationship between an efficient resources use and the waste production and management. Concerning waste recycling, the current frame could be divided in already established chains (glass, paper, metal, wood, plastic) and still embryonic chains (electronic waste, inert materials, organic fraction, car fluff, photovoltaic panels, etc.), which have a significant development potential. The investments in innovative processes and technologies able to valorise scraps from different industrial sectors can lead not only to waste reduction but also to net savings for the companies, with the possibility to automatically process a larger quantity of products and to train specialised personnel in a constantly growing sector.
Objective. The objective of the Cyber-Sort project is to develop innovative models and advanced technologies for the identification, sorting and separation of valuable materials from End-of-Life (EoL) waste stream, with the aim to increase the market uptake of secondary raw materials. The achievement of this objective will support the transition towards a circular economy, where the value of materials, products and resources is preserved as long as possible and the waste production is minimized. This transition gives to Europe and specifically to Regione Lombardia the opportunity to transform the current linear economy, creating new sustainable advantages for the manufacturing industry. The focus of the project will be the treatment of EoL products from the industrial sector, which covers 90% of the total waste production (domestic waste production accounts only for 8%), such as: construction and demolition waste, mechatronics and electronics waste products, waste from iron and steel industry and from incinerators, car fluff and industrial by-products in general. Innovative sensing and automated robotic sorting technologies will be developed during the project for the recognition of different materials, such as metal, wood, inert materials, plastic, paper, glass and ceramic. In particular the project will synergically and systematically develop a pilot plant integrating the EoL strategies through the following steps: i) on line waste matrix characterization, ii) macro and micro automated sorting; iii) waste recovery and valorization.
Expected results. The Cyber-Sort project will promote the shift towards a circular economy approach, developing innovative methods and technologies for demanufacturing and optimum strategies for EoL, considering the qualitative aspects concerning the reuse of secondary raw materials in manufacturing industries. The proposal will develop new methods and technologies for:
i) the EoL materials identification, through the implementation of a multi-sensor system able to discriminate on line different material in the waste matrix;
ii) the automated macro sorting of materials based on human-robot cooperation in terms of intuitive physical interaction and safe workspace sharing, in order to optimize the materials identification and sorting process (highly non-structured) by the exploitation of the potentialities and peculiarities of machines/operators collaboration;
iii) the selective micromanipulation of high added value finer fractions coming from the waste shredding process;
iv) new control systems at plant level, in order to optimize the EoL strategies with respect to the unpredictability of materials present in the incoming waste matrix and to optimize the overall efficiency of the process;
v) the valorization of recovered material through the production of compounds based on a polymeric matrix, for different kind of applications (buildings, electronics, etc);
vi) the definition of a new business model based on optimized strategies of EoL and exploiting the developed technologies.
Benefits. Aligned to the smart specialization areas defined in the regional strategy, the project will bring the following benefits:
– environmental benefits, related to: i) reduction of the demand of raw material, resulting in reduced number of new extractions; ii) reduction of treatment processes with high environmental impact, especially for EoL products processed in emerging countries with unstructured or absent environmental policies; iii) improvement of recycling treatment efficiency, both qualitative and quantitative, thanks to the on line integration of innovative systems based on the use of sensing and robotic sorting technologies;
– economic benefits, generated by: i) increased competitiveness of companies already operating in the recycling sector, due to the high efficiency of processes/systems developed in the project; ii) growth of a new industrial sector of high technologically innovative machines and systems for demanufacturing; iii) incremental growth of the demanufacturing sector, thanks to the benefits related to the advanced technologies and methods;
– social benefits, generated by: i) increase of qualified job opportunities thanks to the growth of new industries, enabled by the project results; ii) creation of a new category of highly specialized workers able to manage highly automated recycling and demanufacturing processes; iii) increased safety and satisfaction level of operators, thanks to the new man-machine cooperation technologies;
– strategic benefits, connected to: i) research internationalization thanks to the alignment of the project to the regional, national and European agenda priorities; ii) dissemination and exploitation activities, involving the existing network of national and international stakeholders; iii) improvement of research and training infrastructures (“learning factory”), with particular reference to the Demanufacturing pilot plant, which is the reference strategic asset of the project.

INO’s Experiments/Theoretical Study correlated:
Artificial Olfactive Systems
Preparation of oxide quasi 1D structures
Electrical and optical chemical gas sensing
Advanced applications of quasi 1d oxides
Electron microscopy and EBL

The Scientific Results:
1) Metal Oxide Gas Sensors, a Survey of Selectivity Issues Addressed at the SENSOR Lab, Brescia (Italy)