Sooner or later a heat pump needs replacing. When that happens, it is important to dispose of the product in an efficient and environmentally responsible way. With the help of Stena Recycling AB we have conducted dismantling tests on a selection of our new products in order to assess their recyclability.
The purpose has been to evaluate the products from a total life-cycle perspective and to work out how best to deal with the different types of materials. Particular interest has focused on just how large a proportion of the products can be recycled. To optimise the recycling potential of a product, it is important to make sure that it can be dismantled in a practical way and that this results in as few residual materials as possible. The test results will be used when establishing the parameters for the design, construction and production of new products.
In the first stage of the test the heat pump is dismantled manually and the cooling medium and oils are dealt with. The product is then fed through a fragmentation plant and the various fractions obtained are separated using a variety of techniques. Metals and other materials recovered can then be recycled as industrial raw materials.
The test results showed a very high level of recyclability for our heat-pump components. More than 99% of the materials could be re-used in one form or another. This exercise did, however, indicate the potential for providing easier access to certain components during the dismantling stage, and for reducing the number of composite components in order to facilitate fragmentation.