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A project designed to address the growing need for automated solutions in waste sorting, particularly in an aging workforce and a market with a high demand for sustainable operations. The project aims to leverage advanced AI and machine learning technologies to develop an automated system for detecting and sorting waste, particularly focusing on the identification of batteries and laughing gas cannisters in waste streams. This approach is not only more efficient but also enhances safety in recycling facilities.


The project comprises three distinct components: Cyclops, Metes, and Argos, each tailored to specific sorting challenges and contributing uniquely to the waste management process. Argos is the big one focussed on dealing with the hardest streams, like batteries and laughing gas canisters, hidden in thick waste streams.



Since the recreational use of nitrous oxide (laughing gas) was banned in the Netherlands, the disposal of these cylinders has become problematic. Many users, unaware or indifferent to proper disposal methods, discard these cylinders with regular waste, leading to explosions at waste processing plants. These explosions occur because the cylinders often still contain residual gas, which can ignite and cause damage during incineration (Eindhoven News) (The Brussels Times). The resulting damages are substantial, with the Association of Waste Companies reporting €65 million in damages this year alone. The item by RTV Oost (Above) discusses these problems as well.
For example, in Amsterdam, waste management company AEB has reported challenges with these cylinders causing operational disruptions. The company has been proactive in setting up temporary waste locations to safely inspect and process these hazardous items before incineration.
The lack of a structured return and recycling system exacerbates the issue. Some municipalities, like Eindhoven, have initiated drop-off points at recycling centres where these cylinders can be safely disposed of without legal repercussions for the users. However, the volume of improperly discarded cylinders continues to grow, stressing the need for a more comprehensive, nationwide solution.


The disposal of batteries, especially lithium-ion batteries, also presents a significant hazard. These batteries can ignite or explode when damaged, causing fires at waste processing and recycling centers. They are responsible for 49 out of 53 fires that occurred at European waste processors. (EURIC) These fires take place within all forms of recycling industry, in the metal industry it is the number one reason for waste fires, and it is the number three reason for fires in the paper recycling industry.

This issue is particularly acute in urban areas like Amsterdam, where waste separation at the household level is often inadequate due to the city's infrastructure of high-rise buildings. The growing volume and the dangers associated with lithium-ion batteries necessitate continuous improvement in waste handling technologies and processes. According to the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, only 24 percent of lithium-ion batteries in the Netherlands are properly disposed of; the remainder ends up in plastic, general waste, or paper recycling streams. (Attero)


TEMNOS stands out because it can be integrated within, or added to, the existing recycling and sorting systems without losing throughput. It can detect and remove hazardous items that other systems might miss. Our solution is versatile, capable of handling various waste types, including e-waste, household waste, construction waste, and paper waste. We have already demonstrated the effectiveness of this technology with a working prototype and a proof-of-concept line that showcases the system at 40 tons of waste per hour. This combination of advanced technology and practical application positions TEMNOS as a leader in innovative waste management solutions.



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