Opportunities to Recycle Insulation Parts
Opportunities to Recycle Insulation Parts

Due to their superior dielectric properties and mechanical strength, ceramic and thermoset material are widely used in the electric industry. This makes them perfect for components such as insulators, bushings or instrument transformers. An appropriate waste management policy must therefore ideally be available in relation to reutilization/recycling of scrapped components. The Polish law, for instance, is based in European Directives. This has shown that waste management development should concentrate on wastes that meet these requirements.

* can be used for raw materials in a manufacturing process.

* can replace the fuel or raw material used so far in a manufacturing process.

* can be used in order to improve the quality or efficiency of a manufacturing process.

* can be used for reducing the environmental dangers of the process

* can be an excellent source of valuable materials

* can be a valuable product after processing

Scrap Thermosets

Because of the rising volumes of different scrap materials and limited landfill space, advanced recycling techniques will be needed. Here are some options for thermoset wastes.

* Use as construction materials

* energy recovery;

* degradation

The use of cured epoxy-based scrap in concrete and asphalt construction materials has been discussed many times. It seems like a simple way to make use of the material. The economic value of this solution is low, as the amount of these materials and the waste streams are not distributed geographically. The use of epoxy scrap in electrical equipment is common, as well as various metal-based internal parts (e.g. cores, windings, etc.) These elements are embedded in epoxy. This means that scrap must be pretreated. For example, metallic parts should be removed and crushed. The high energy content of thermosets (LHV between 10 and 20 MJ/kg depending the filler) makes energy recovery through combustion a good option. This treatment can generate large amounts of inorganic material in the form filler and must be done in an economical manner. Because of the well-defined process, thermosets are considered relatively safe in terms of air pollution. A second option for utilization is degradation. This refers, among other things to, the reduction of plastics to lower molecular-weight materials through processes such as photodegradation and chemical degradation. Pyrolysis can be described as a form of chemical degradation. The research below has been focused on this method of using thermoset scrap.

Scrap Ceramic Insulators

It has been difficult to highlight the issue of using scrap porcelain insulation. For outdoor tiling, road aggregate and ice melt, you can grind up scrap porcelain insulators. The manufacturer may be able to re-use used porcelain insulators as raw material to create new insulators. They are more often found on-site at substations or buried.

It is evident that the development and implementation of a more flexible technology as well as a solid waste management strategy for large amounts of porcelain insulation has become a necessity. This is why we sought a solution.

Proposed Recycling Solutions for Thermosets

It is important to consider the possibility of valuable components made from metals like aluminum and copper being embedded in insulation materials when recycling thermoset-based components, such as epoxies. The proposed recycling method must ensure high quality recycled parts. Because of its environmental and financial benefits, pyrolysis was chosen for its utilization. It allows thermal degradation in an oxygen-free atmosphere and results in a number of end product, i.e. :

* Pyrolytic Gas

* liquid products;

* solids (char, mineral fillers, metals).


Laboratory investigations confirmed that different insulation components can be recycled using patented technologies. These solutions will not be commercialized unless waste disposal agencies have the right policies in place to efficiently collect the scrap components. This can be done with support from local governments.

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