BicyClean: A pedal powered machine to recycle electronic waste


All the electronic gadgets that we all are so proud of make use of some kind of an electronic circuit board to carry all those chips and batteries. The sheer number of electronic gadgets discarded every year means that about 40 million tons of electronic waste is produced in the same time, out of which only 10 percent is recycled and the other 90 percent is traded to developing countries, where people have to burn these boards to extract resalable metal components. While burning circuit boards results in emissions of greenhouse gases, the process also has several health issues associated with it.

To make the process a lot better for people living in the developing region an industrial designer has come up with a safe way to shred and sort electronic circuit boards. Christened the BicyClean, the pedal powered machine is essentially a bicycle with the rear wheel replaced with a processing chamber. The machine can be operated by a single person, during which the person adds circuit board into a feed tube, which presses the boards into pieces, which then enter the grinding wheel and become pulverized.

The particles pass through a magnet that extracts ferrous metal particles. The remaining mix then passes over a small eddy current motor, powered by a 3:1 gear ratio with the bicycle chain. The changing magnetic field repulse metals, projecting them horizontally, while the non-metallic parts fall separately in the bottom mounted collection tray. The prototype machine efficiently extracts useful metallic components from other materials, efficiently and without emitting any harmful greenhouse gases.

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