The development of cost-effective and green recycling technologies for secondary metal recovery from industrial wastes is one of the new challenges on the sustainable development agenda. By incorporating cost and resource efficiency assessment into the technology innovation process, we aim to improve the sustainability of new recycling technologies by minimizing process waste, improving resource efficiency, thus reducing the recovery process cost. This paper focuses on modeling and assessing the production cost and resource use efficiency for closed-loop nickel recovery from spent hydrogenation catalysts. The engineering economics factors and process variables that affect the profitability and resource efficiency of nickel recovery are identified. They are modeled in cost and efficiency metrics. Model-based scenarios assessment revealed that compared to open-loop nickel recovery, the closed-loop concept delivers more cost-effective and greener recycling solutions. The closed-loop process cost reduction via efficient resource use and process waste minimization is in the range of 18.4% to 24.0% compared to the open-loop process option.

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