WE.3.A || Business Models for a Circular Economy

van Nielen, Sander; Kleijn, René; Miranda Xicotencatl, Brenda

Many promising recycling technologies are under development worldwide. Only some of these emerging technologies finds successful implementation at industrial level. To bridge the gap between innovation and large-scale application, several hurdles need to be overcome. This implementation pathway can be smoothened if at an early stage the future role of the recycling technology in the industry is explored. When recycling technology developers anticipate how their technology could change the raw materials sector, they can identify focal points for further research. Similarly, prospective LCA identifies environmental hotspots of the large-scale version of a technology. Prospective LCA studies face the challenge of envisioning future technology systems coherently. To provide input to both technology development and prospective LCA, we shaped a collaborative and explorative process. The approach was applied to short-loop Nd-Fe-B magnet recycling as part of the SUSMAGPRO project, in which magnet recovery technologies are upscaled. The SUSMAGPRO project consortium represents actors from the whole recycling chain, ranging from waste sorting facilities to product manufacturers that intend to use recycled magnets. The lessons learned from this case-study are also relevant for increasing circularity in other industries. The presented approach is based on generalised morphological analysis and uses stakeholder input to develop scenarios and strategic system designs. The scenarios describe coherent views on possible future environments. The strategic system designs outline a potential large-scale recycling sector and include process configurations. This collaborative envisioning process yielded valuable insights in the performance requirements for successful upscaling and indicated focus areas for technology improvement. The results help recyclers to formulate well-informed business models. Additionally, we discuss how the detailed visions can form the basis for prospective LCA.