ERO Recycling Robot: Innovations in Eco-Friendly Demolitions

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A new concept eco-friendly recycling robot has us thinking of Wall-E.

Eco-friendly. While once a hippy buzz word, the innovations of eco-friendly technologies have gone from fringe to mainstream. With the global community now aware, all aspects of human life are being transformed.

When one thinks of demolitions, images of imploding buildings and clouds of dust are about the least eco-friendly things you could imagine, but around the world innovators are changing that. Starting with the latest winner of the 2013 International Design Excellence award in the student category, the ERO Concrete Recycling Robot takes the lead. Designed by Omer Haciomeroglu, a student at Swedens’ Umea Institute of Design, the ERO is designed to not only take down a building, but will break it down into its individual, recyclable parts.

Using water jets and suction, the troop of strategically placed robots separate concrete into aggregate, cement and water. The water is recycled back into the system and used to continue the process, while the aggregate and rebar are cleaned and sent out for reuse. Not only does the ERO system reuse the building itself, but it virtually eliminates the added issue of the airborne pollution often caused by current demolitions techniques.

While this amazing new technology is all the buzz, it has yet to be put into regular use. Meanwhile, in Japan, the issue of finding more eco- friendly demolitions has resulted in a rather unique approach.

Hindered by both the extreme size of the Grand Prince Hotel Akasaka in Tokyo, and a desire to limit the dust and mess that result in a mass demolitions, the team at Taisei Corporation, who are in charge of the demolitions, turned to Taisei Ecological Reproduction System (Tecorep). Normal construction would call for the use of cranes, which can not reach the heights required for the demolition of the hotel, while Tecorep involves taking a structure – the one in question being over 456 feet tall – apart from the inside. Using support jacks to hold up the ceiling, the higher floors are taken apart one floor at a time, and internal cranes move waste to the lower floors. The process, while a bit slow, reduces energy expenditures and cuts carbon emissions by as much as 85%. The process is so clean and safe the demolitions were actually halted so that the building could be used to house refuges following the Fukushima disaster. Watch below as the building appears to shrink.

With construction companies moving to more eco-friendly materials, and demolitions shifting their focus to more environmental methods, city dwellers will soon be able to breathe a little easier.

Images: Omer Haciomeroglu

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