Below are some of the frequently asked questions and their answers:
1Will Grycle industrialise the machine?
In 2021 Grycle will continue its development work to increase its ability to recognize other categories of materials. In 2022, the expertise of existing partners and those joining during this second phase of development will be integrated to design and build industrial versions of the machine. Specific partners already involvet with the serial production of mechatronic devices will industrialize Grycle, together with the R&D team that has been working on the patent and prototyping so far.
2How much does the machine cost?
At the prototype stage, the cost of the machine has little meaning. In the industrialized version, the cost will depend on the size and ingestion capacity of the manageable waste, i.e. the amount of waste it will be able to process per unit of time. A reference price for the ideal B2C market is that of consumer water purification machines, which ranges between €1,500 and €2,000.
3What is Artificial Intelligence used for?
In the first versions of the Integrated System, we coded the data (reading curves) from the spectrometer readings, confronted with specific material categories, by hand. With the introduction of the AI module, the machine is able, through self-learning, to learn to recognize new types of materials by testing with large numbers of samples.
4Is it noisy?
The noisiest part of the machine is the chopping chamber at the top. Compared with the rest of the complexities, noise has a lower priority for R&D than the recognition of new materials. We are confident that we can improve the noise performance a lot.
5Why don't you concentrate on a subset of materials to be disposed of?
That is exactly what we are doing. For a group of five companies we have already priced a specialized, or 'vertical', version of the machine. Specifically, we have already designed the concept for a version dedicated to the treatment of used coffee capsules. Grycle will then have to recognize and separate aluminum, plastics and untreated coffee powder. In the next stages of development Grycle will focus on other verticals.
6Is the value of the chopped and collected secondary raw materials enough to justify Grycle’s costs?
The price of materials resulting from waste recycling comes from the market that exhanges them. There are a number of operators dealing such mark. Follow this link to see the updated price of plastics in a sample of such marketplaces. In addition to the source of revenue from the sale of secondary raw materials, the possibility of integrating technology for the volumetric reduction and automatic separation of waste is a valuable resource for all those industrial players who incur costs for the conventional treatment of waste, such as Vending Machine operators. In addition to the source of revenue, therefore, there is also the source of savings, which sums up to the impact on the environment.
7How do you recycle 100% of waste?
Grycle currently shreds, recognizes and separates 24 types of plastics. The objective of the development phase is to integrate Grycle with the capacity to recognize other types of material, such as aluminum and metals, then glass, etc. It is our goal to develop the capacity to handle 100% of the waste and we will work on this progressively.
8How much energy does it take to run the machine?
A complete cycle of the current version consumes as much as a third of a washing machine cycle. The energy required can be generated using two square meters of solar panels. By integrating solar panels with the machine, we will have a self-sustaining tool that can be installed almost anywhere, without the need for a power source.
9What materials does today's version of the machine deal with?
During the research and development work performed so far, we have focused on plastics, given the huge impact such materials have on the environment. We are now working on metals (for which we have already identified and tested sensors). In each of the containers of the current prototype we will be able to collect aluminum flakes from around 35 cans.
10Why do you shred everything together in the beginning instead of pre-separating the waste?
There already are treatment lines that use robotic arms to pre-separate. For example, plastic bottles from aluminum cans. Each of these two types of semi-finished products must then be transported to a specific treatment line, where different technologies are used to reduce bottles and cans into a further semi-finished product that can be used in industry. What is not treatable is then incinerated. The benefit of Grycle is that it grinds everything undifferentiated into granules upstream of the process. The volume is reduced immediately. The individual flakes are then separated automatically in one place and with one technology; there is no different treatment for each category of material. The semi-finished output, i.e. the second raw material granules, are already reusable in the industry. The reduction of impact on transport and sorting of specific treatment lines is clear.