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Hyperspectral imaging to sort construction and demolition waste

The European ICEBERG project has ended with the demonstration of the feasibility of hyperspectral imaging to perform complex operations to automatically sort construction and demolition waste.

The European ICEBERG project in which the GAIKER Technology Centre, member of the Basque Research & Technology Alliance, BRTA, has participated, has come to an end having achieved significant results.

This four-year research project, carried out by a consortium of 35 partners from 10 European countries, started in 2020 to provide a solution to construction and demolition waste (CDW), which accounts for more than a third of total waste generation, and to address its circularity, from recovery and recycling to the development of more sustainable products.

The partners include GAIKER, an expert in the development of automatic identification and sorting technologies, which has been in charge of researching an advanced technological solution, based on hyperspectral imaging and multivariate data analysis techniques, aimed at recovering material resources contained in different construction and demolition waste streams to be subsequently used in new construction products.

More specifically, it has focused on researching the hyperspectral imaging technique applied to the automatic identification and sorting of mixed stone materials (concrete and ceramic aggregates), gypsum board waste (purification of gypsum board by separating it from other unsuitable materials) and insulating foam mixtures (PUR and PIR).

For each of these case studies, specific automatic sorting models based on supervised learning algorithms have been developed and successfully evaluated. Based on the analysis of the hyperspectral footprints of the different materials, they determine the class or category to which they belong in real time, enabling their subsequent separation into independent fractions.

In conclusion, the feasibility of hyperspectral imaging supported by multivariate data analysis tools has been proven to perform complex automatic sorting operations of construction and demolition waste. In this way, new fractions of recovered materials will be produced with purities that can exceed 90%, enabling them to be reintroduced into the economic cycle as secondary raw materials in value-added applications.

More information:

 This project has received funding from the European Commission's Horizon 2020 Research and Development Programme under contract number 869336.
This press release reflects the views only of the authors, and neither the agency nor the Commission is responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained therein.

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