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Monday, 16 May 2011

When is it worth remanufacturing?

MIT News
May 16, 2011

It seems like a no-brainer: Remanufacturing products rather than making new ones from scratch — widely done with everything from retread tires to refilled inkjet cartridges to remanufactured engines — should save a lot of energy, right?

Not so fast, says a new study by researchers at MIT.

In some cases, the conventional wisdom is indeed correct. But out of 25 case studies on products in eight categories done by a team led by Professor of Mechanical Engineering Timothy Gutowski, there were just as many cases where remanufacturing actually cost more energy as cases where it saved energy. And for the majority of the items, the savings were negligible or the energy balance was too close to call.


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