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Development of High Speed Multispectral Imaging for Sorting Automotive Plastics

Award Information
Agency: Department of Energy
Branch: N/A
Contract: DE-FG02-06ER84559
Agency Tracking Number: 81079S06-I
Amount: $750,000.00
Phase: Phase II
Program: SBIR
Solicitation Topic Code: 29
Solicitation Number: DE-FG01-05ER05-28
Solicitation Year: 2006
Award Year: 2007
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): N/A
Award End Date (Contract End Date): N/A
Small Business Information
566 Mainstream Drive Suite 300
Nashville, TN 37228
United States
DUNS: 107070567
HUBZone Owned: Yes
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 Edward Sommer
 (615) 734-6400
Business Contact
 Edward Sommer
Title: Dr
Phone: (615) 734-6400
Research Institution

Each year, about 15 million vehicles are discarded and processed by recycling companies for extraction of recyclable materials. While almost all metals are recycled, most non-metallic components of the vehicle (approximately 25% by weight) are not, and are landfilled instead. Therefore, methods and technologies are needed to enable the recycling of these non-metal materials, especially automobile plastics, in order to conserve resources and reduce energy usage. This project will develop a new high-speed electronic detection and sorting technology that can: (1) identify durable automobile plastics as they flow dry in bulk quantities on a conveying system, and (2) sort the plastics into marketable polymer fractions. This new detection and sorting system will be applied to the recovery and recycling of automotive plastics derived from end-of-life automobile shredder plants. In Phase I, a bench-scale prototype sensing system was designed, constructed, tested, and evaluated. Using the prototype system, the feasibility of constructing a high-speed multispectral imaging system, suitable for use in a sorting environment, was established. Phase II will design, engineer, construct, test, and evaluate a prototype high-speed multispectral imaging system that will be integrated with a materials sorting system for automated identification and sorting of polymers from a mixed-polymer stream of plastics. The prototype sorting system will be used to demonstrate the sorting of mixed plastics derived from end-of-life automobiles at commercially-viable processing rates. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by the awardee: The new technology should enable an increased ability to recycle used automotive plastics, thereby conserving energy, conserving increasingly limited resources, and reducing the flow of materials to landfills. In addition, a plentiful new source of manufacturing materials to would be provided. The technology also could impact other recycling applications, such as the recycling of electronic waste.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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