Mining above grade, or recovering materials already in service, is growing more important every day, as demand for raw materials increases and supplies decrease. Unfortunately, it's often an energy-intensive and difficult - or even impossible - process to recover materials from finished products, including complex electronics, composite auto parts, or even treated wood. "Molecular Sorting for Resource Efficiency," a new project from the Fraunhofer Institute aims to change resource recovery. Scientists are working on methods to separate materials out at the molecular level so those materials can be used again and again.
For more on how it works and potential applications, visit the Institute's Beyond Tomorrow page here.