A circular economy project is set to ensure clean energy solutions don’t increase landfill waste

A sustainability project, led by the University of Strathclyde’s Advanced Forming Research Centre (AFRC), part of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland, is looking at circular solutions to ensure that the drive for electric machines doesn’t result in an increase in parts ending up in landfill.

As part of the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded Future Electrical Machines Manufacturing (FEMM) Hub project, a more sustainable life cycle for electrical machines will be developed, with an aim to adopt a circular economy approach that loops the materials back into manufacture at the end of life.

Currently, electric machines, such as those used within electric cars, are manufactured using mostly metals and their alloys, some of which are complex in their composition or manufacturing routes, and most of which are manufactured from virgin, finite materials. Unfortunately, due to the current design, manufacture and maintenance of these machines, end of life processing methods are not fully considered and most will end up in landfill.

The £28million FEMM Hub, launched last year, is the first of its kind to bring together leading research expertise in electrical machines and manufacturing to put the UK at the forefront of an electrification revolution. Together, the University of Sheffield, Newcastle University and the University of Strathclyde are addressing key manufacturing challenges and designing new electrical machines with improved performance for the aerospace, energy, automotive and premium consumer sectors.

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