Publications

  • Industrial waste heat recovery: A systematic approach 2018, Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments.

    Abstract

    Globally one third of energy consumption is attributable to the industrial sector, with up to fifty percent ultimately wasted as heat. Unlike material waste that is clearly visible, waste heat (WHE) can be difficult to identify and evaluate both in terms of quantity and quality. Hence by being able to understand the availability of waste heat energy, and the ability to recover, there is an opportunity to reduce industrial energy costs and associated environmental impacts. A waste heat energy recovery framework is developed to provide manufacturers with a four step methodology in assessing production activities in facilities, analysing the compatibility of waste heat source(s) and sink(s) in terms of exergy balance and temporal availability, selecting appropriate heat recovery technologies and decision support based on economic benefits. The economic opportunity for industrial energy recovery is demonstrated in an industrial case study. The applicability of the framework for wider industrial application is discussed.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley

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  • Abstract

    One of the most prominent challenges commonly acknowledged by modern manufacturing industries is ‘how to produce more with fewer resources?’ Nowhere is this more true than in the food sector due to the recent concerns regarding the long-term availability and security of food products. The unique attributes of food products such as the need for fresh perishable ingredients, health risks associated with inappropriate production environment, stringent storage and distributions requirements together with relatively short post-production shelf-life makes their preparation, production and supply considerably different to other manufactured goods. Furthermore, the impacts of climate change on our ability to produce food, the rapidly increasing global population, as well as changes in demand and dietary behaviours both within developed and developing countries urgently demands a need to change the way we grow, manufacture and consume our food products. This paper discusses a number of key research challenges facing modern food manufacturers, including improved productivity using fewer resources, valorisation of food waste, improving the resilience of food supply chains, localisation of food production, and utilisation of new sustainable sources of nutrition for provision of customised food products.

    Link to Loughborough University Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/24925

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García , Jamie Stone , Patrick Webb , Aicha Jellil , Sandeep Jagtap , Pedro Gimenez-Escalante

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  • Abstract

    Manufacturing decisions are currently made based on considerations of cost, time and quality. However there is increasing pressure to also routinely incorporate environmental considerations into the decision making processes. Despite the existence of a number of tools for environmental analysis of manufacturing activities, there does not appear to be a structured approach for generating relevant environmental information that can be fed into manufacturing decision making. This research proposes an overarching structure that leads to three approaches, pertaining to different timescales that enable the generation of environmental information, suitable for consideration during decision making. The approaches are demonstrated through three industrial case studies.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • Optimising Industrial Food Waste Management 2017, Procedia Manufacturing

    Abstract

    Global levels of food waste are attracting growing concern and require immediate action to mitigate their negative ecological and socio-economic ramifications. In the developed world, of the order of 20-40% of food waste is generated at the manufacturing stage of supply chains and is often managed in non-optimised ways leading to additional environmental impacts. This research describes a novel decision-support tool to enable food manufacturers to evaluate a range of waste management options and identify the most sustainable solution. A nine-stage qualitative evaluation tool is used in conjunction with a number of quantitative parameters to assess industrial food waste, which is then used to generate performance factors that enable the evaluation of economic, environmental and social implications of a range of food-waste management alternatives. The applicability of this process in a software-based decision-support tool is discussed in the context of two industrial case studies.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/23785

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García

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  • Abstract

    Clean-in-place (CIP) is a widely used technique applied to clean industrial equipment without disassembly. Cleaning protocols are currently defined arbitrarily from offline measurements. This can lead to excessive resource (water and chemicals) consumption and downtime, further increasing environmental impacts. An optical monitoring system has been developed to assist eco-intelligent CIP process control and improve resource efficiency. The system includes a UV optical fouling monitor designed for real-time image acquisition and processing. The output of the monitoring is such that it can support further intelligent decision support tools for automatic cleaning assessment during CIP phases. This system reduces energy and water consumption, whilst minimising non-productive time: the largest economic cost for CIP.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • Laser annealing of thin film CdTe solar cells using a 808 nm diode laser 2016, IEEE 43rd Photovoltaic Specialists Conference (PVSC), Portland, OR, 05 - 10th. Jun, pp. 2811-2816.

    Abstract

    We report on the effect of a new laser annealing treatment for thin film CdTe solar cells using a 808 nm diode laser. As-deposited, laser annealed and MgCl2 treated/laser annealed CdTe thin films have been analysed. One part of the work has been focused on understanding the efficacy of the activation treatment by laser annealing. The results show partial chlorine diffusion and associated partial re-crystallisation of the absorber. The second part of this work has been focused on the effect of the treatment on the chemical composition of the CdTe surface. It has been found that the process also contributes to the formation of a Te-rich layer on the surface of the CdTe absorber, which may provide a useful process to produce a back contact. This paper reveals the effect of the laser treatment on the micro-structural properties of the CdTe absorber material. The microstructure has been analysed using STEM/EDX, HRTEM and XRD. Further work is required to optimise the process but it has the potential to provide much greater control than current activation methods and also to provide a Te back contact suitable for CdTe solar cells.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley , Nick Goffin

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  • Abstract

    Polymers are ubiquitous in modern manufactured products. The potential detrimental impacts of their end-of-life disposal have stimulated significant increases in recycling rates. Recyclate purity is paramount; however this must be achieved with a positive net energy balance. Existing technologies for identification and separation of polymers are often both expensive and energy intensive. This paper investigates Infrared (IR) imaging to extract information on thermal properties of various product polymers within a recycling line. An intelligent decision making support system is enabled using neural network based pattern recognition for automatic polymer identification and classification. Potential energy savings versus current technologies are discussed.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • A manufacturing approach to reducing consumer food waste 2016, Advances in Manufacturing Technology XXX: Proceedings of the 14th International Conference on Manufacturing Research

    Abstract

    Globally, one third of food produced is wasted. In the UK, 47% of the food waste is post-consumer revealing a need to encourage more efficient consumption. This research asserts that manufacturers and retailers can play a crucial role in minimising consumer food waste (CFW) through consumer engagement and provision of smart solutions that ensure more efficient use of food products. Supporting manufacturers and retailers to minimise CFW can be achieved via two stages: a) understanding and evaluating CFW, and b) identifying improvements to manufacturing and retail activities that would reduce CFW. Onsite waste audits have identified that the percentage of edible CFW from domestic environments (77%) is greater than that disposed of in public areas (14%) supporting the hypothesis that improving the full food provisioning process (e.g. packaging, storage, guidance) would be beneficial. This paper proposes a number of mechanisms to support manufacturing and retail in reducing CFW.

    Link to Loughborough University Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/22780

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García , Aicha Jellil

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  • Abstract

    Clean-in-place systems are largely used in food industry for cleaning interior surfaces of equipment without disassembly. These processes currently utilise an excessive amount of resources and time, as they are based on an open loop (no feedback) control philosophy with process control dependent on conservative over estimation assumptions. This paper proposes a multi-sensor approach including a vision and acoustic system for clean-in-place monitoring, endowed with ultraviolet optical fluorescence imaging and ultrasonic acoustic sensors aimed at assessing fouling thickness within inner surfaces of vessels and pipeworks. An experimental campaign of Clean-in-place tests was carried out at laboratory scale using chocolate spread as fouling agent. During the tests digital images and ultrasonic signal specimens were acquired and processed extracting relevant features from both sensing units. These features are then inputted to an intelligent decision making support tool for the real-time assessment of fouling thickness within the clean-in-place system.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • A Methodology for Sustainable Management of Food Waste 2016, Waste and Biomass Valorization

    Abstract

    DOI 10.1007/s12649-016-9720-0

    As much as one-third of the food intentionally grown for human consumption is never consumed and is therefore wasted, with significant environmental, social and economic ramifications. An increasing number of publications in this area currently consider different aspects of this critical issue, and generally focus on proactive approaches to reduce food waste, or reactive solutions for more efficient waste management. In this context, this paper takes a holistic approach with the aim of achieving a better understanding of the different types of food waste, and using this knowledge to support informed decisions for more sustainable management of food waste. With this aim, existing food waste categorizations are reviewed and their usefulness are analysed. A systematic methodology to identify types of food waste through a nine-stage categorization is used in conjunction with a version of the waste hierarchy applied to food products. For each type of food waste characterized, a set of waste management alternatives are suggested in order to minimize environmental impacts and maximize social and economic benefits. This decision-support process is demonstrated for two case studies from the UK food manufacturing sector. As a result, types of food waste which could be managed in a more sustainable manner are identified and recommendations are given. The applicability of the categorisation process for industrial food waste management is discussed.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/22695

     

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García

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  • Abstract

    CdTe-based thin film solar cells currently represent one of the fastest growing PV technologies, with a superior combination of efficiency, energy payback time and lifecycle environmental impact. However, the current post-deposition annealing treatment is still an energy intensive step of the manufacturing process. A novel method is presented for annealing of CdTe using a high-power diode laser (35 W, 808 nm) for thermal post-processing, combined with holographic optical elements (HOE’s) for laser beam heat flow control. The advantage of a laser for annealing lies in its ability to selectively heat only the surface of the CdTe solar cell; improving energy efficiency, process speed and energy resilience. Heat transfer simulations were used to predict the effects of different laser irradiance profiles on the annealing process thermal cycle influence the experimental design and predict optimal laser irradiance profiles. Variations in power and process speed on as-deposited and MgCl2-treated close-space sublimated (CSS) CdTe samples have been performed. The results were characterised using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Optical properties were analysed with a spectrophotometer and ellipsometric spectroscopy (SE). The laser annealing treatment was found to be effective in promoting Chlorine diffusion and improving the optical and morphological properties of CdTe thin film devices.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley , Nick Goffin

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  • Abstract

    The combustion of fossil fuels for energy generation has contributed considerably to the effects of climate change. In order to reduce fossil fuel consumption, designers are increasingly seeking to reduce the energy consumption of products over their life cycle. To achieve a significant reduction in energy consumption, it is essential that energy considerations are incorporated within the design phase of a product, since the majority a product's environmental impact is determined during this phase. This work proposes a new ‘Design for Energy Minimization’ (DfEM) approach, which is intended to provide increased transparency with respect to the energy consumed during manufacture in order to help inform design decisions. An energy simulation model based on this approach is then presented to aid designers during the design phase. The application of this novel design tool is demonstrated in two cases: That of a simple product (designed by a single Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEM) through a centralized approach); and a complex product (designed by a number of designers within a supply chain using a distributed approach). The subsequent benefits to energy minimization are then discussed and conclusions drawn.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Nick Goffin

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  • Optimized assembly design for resource efficient production in a multiproduct manufacturing system 2016, 10th CIRP Conference on Intelligent Computation in Manufacturing Engineering - CIRP ICME '16

    Abstract

    Resource efficiency is one of the greatest challenges for sustainable manufacturing. Material flow in manufacturing systems directly influences resource efficiency, financial cost and environmental impact. A framework for material flow assessment in manufacturing systems (MFAM) was applied to a complex multi-product manufacturing case study. This supported the identification of options to alter material flow through changes to the product assembly design, to improve overall resource efficiency through eliminating resource intensive changeovers. Alternative assembly designs were examined using a combination of intelligent computation techniques: k-means clustering, genetic algorithm and ant colony algorithm. This provided recommendations balancing improvement potential with extent of process modification impact.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley , James Colwill , Alessandro Simeone

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  • A Decision Support System for Waste Heat Recovery in Manufacturing 2016, CIRP Annals - Manufacturing Technology

    Abstract

    One third of energy consumption is attributable to the industrial sector, with as much as half ultimately wasted as heat. Consequently, research has focused on technologies for harvesting this waste heat energy, however, the adoption of such technologies can be costly with long payback time. A decision support tool is presented which computes the compatibility of waste heat source(s) and sink(s), namely the exergy balance and temporal availability, along with economic and environmental benefits of available heat exchanger technologies to propose a streamlined and optimised heat recovery strategy. Substantial improvement in plant energy efficiency together with reduction in the payback time for heat recovery has been demonstrated in the included case study.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • Abstract

    The production and use of energy accounts for around 60% of global greenhouse gas (GHG)
     emissions, providing an intrinsic link between cause and effect. Considering that the manufacturing
     industry is responsible for roughly one-third of the global energy demand enforces the need to ensure
     that the manufacturing sector continually strives to reduce its reliance on energy and thus minimise
     GHG released into the atmosphere. Consequently, efficient management of energy consumption is of
     paramount importance for modern manufacturing businesses due to well-documented negative
     impact regarding energy generation from fossil fuels and rapidly rising worldwide energy costs. This
     has resulted in a proliferation of research in this area which has considered improvements in energy
     consuming activities at the enterprise, facility, cell, machine and turret levels. However, there is now a
     need to go beyond incremental energy efficiency improvements and take more radical approaches to
     reduce energy consumption. It is argued that the largest energy reduction improvements can be
     achieved through better design of production systems or by adopting new business strategies that
     reduce the reliance of manufacturing businesses on resource consumption. This chapter initially
     provides a review of research in energy management (EM) at various manufacturing focus levels. The
     inappropriateness of current methods to cater for transformative and radical energy reduction
     approaches is discussed. In particular, limitations are found at the business strategy level since no
     technique exists to consider the input of these high level decisions on energy consumption. The main
     part of the chapter identifies areas of further opportunity in energy management research, and
     describes a method to facilitate further reductions in energy use and GHG production in
     manufacturing at the business strategy level.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley

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  • Abstract

    Characterisation of Cadmium Telluride (CdTe) thin films commonly requires the use of invasive techniques for
    the identification of their structural growth and the detection of defects which occur during the deposition process.
    Structural growth and the presence of defects can affect the performance of the final device. A non-invasive
    inspection system for CdTe films has been developed to identify the structural properties of this material,
    comparing two different deposition techniques, Close Space Sublimation (CSS) and Magnetron Sputtering (MS).
    The proposed system utilises a 1 μm diode laser which passes through the CdTe layer, originating detectable
    diffraction patterns, which are characterised using image processing techniques and assessed using a neural
    network-based cognitive decision-making support system. Results are found to be consistent with the conventional
    microscopic techniques (SEM and TEM) used to analyse morphological and structural properties of thin-film CdTe
    solar cells.

    SMART authors: Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone , Nick Goffin

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  • Abstract

    The ability to feed 9 billion people by 2050 will rely on processed foods being delivered through complex and dispersed international supply chains. Currently as much as a third of all food grown is lost as waste at various points along existing supply chains, with roughly half of food waste in the developed world occurring after purchase by the end consumer. For the long-term resilience of the food industry, and as holders of critical information, manufacturers need to play a part in reducing this waste. Using a novel method of food waste categorization, this research describes how the prevention of food waste for certain categories can be facilitated using a Smart Phone App that enables industrial inventory management for the domestic environment, providing the consumer with supporting information about food condition and appropriate preparation processes. Data availability issues and the benefits in terms of resource efficiency and consumer loyalty are discussed.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/2134/19396

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García

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  • Abstract

    Food supply chains face a number of unique vulnerabilities
    compared to other supply chains and there is concern that, as
    operating environment volatility increases, current “lean”
    supply chain management strategies may no longer be fit for
    purpose. There is a need to manage food supply chains in
    such a way that a return to the original state, or preferably an
    improved state, after being disturbed is possible. However,
    whilst the literature reveals a relatively large amount of work
    on resilience in supply chain management, there is poor
    consensus over how to define and implement a system of
    resilience, particularly one which takes into account food
    specific vulnerabilities. In response, this paper explores the
    current complexity of food supply chains, highlighting key
    dependencies, failure modes and key performance indicators.
    It then examines the interdependencies between capabilities
    and vulnerabilities in allowing balanced resilience and
    presents a framework to bring together and aid understanding
    of these factors across food supply chains.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Jamie Stone

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  • A Framework for a More Efficient Approach to Food Waste Management 2015, International Journal of Food Engineering

    Abstract

    A considerable amount of waste is generated in the food supply chains of both developing and developed countries. In an increasingly resource constrained world, it is imperative to reduce the high environmental, social and economic impacts associated with this type of waste. This necessitates the development and implementation of improved, targeted management practices. This paper discusses the various definitions and categorizations of food waste according to different international organizations, reviews the most up-to-date data on waste generated in the food supply chains as well as its environmental impact and assess the applicability of current waste management options. This analysis provides the basis for the development of a framework for increasing the effectiveness of food waste management practices through structured assessment and better informed selection of waste management methodologies for each food waste category. The usability of this novel framework is discussed.

    Link to Loughborough University Institutional Repository:

    https://dspace.lboro.ac.uk/dspace-jspui/handle/2134/18195

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Guillermo García García

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  • Abstract

    Modern industrial machining environments face new challenges in implementing process monitoring systems to improve energy efficiency
    whilst ensuring quality standards. A process monitoring methodology for tool state identification during milling of aluminium has been
    implemented through the utilisation of an infrared (IR) camera. A features extraction procedure, based on statistical parameters calculation, was applied to temperature data generated by the IR camera. The features were utilised to build a fuzzy c-means (FCM) based decision making support system utilising pattern recognition for tool state identification. The environmental benefits deriving from the application of the developed monitoring system, are discussed in terms of prevention of rework/rejected products and associated energy and material efficiency improvements.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone

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  • Abstract

    In the UK, 25% of final energy consumption is attributed to
    the industrial sector (DECC, 2013) which also accounts for one
    third of the electricity consumption. However it is estimated
    that between 20 to 50 percent of industrial energy consumption
    is ultimately wasted as heat (Johnson et al., 2008). Unlike
    material waste that is clearly visible, waste heat can be difficult
    to identify and evaluate both in terms of quantity and quality.
    Hence by being able to understand the availability of waste
    heat, and the ability to recover it, there is an opportunity to
    reduce energy costs and associated environmental impacts. This
    research describes the design of a novel framework that aids
    manufacturers in making decisions regarding the most suitable
    solution to recover Waste Heat Energy (WHE) from their
    activities. The framework consists of four major sections: 1)
    survey of waste heat sources in a facility; 2) assessment of
    waste heat quantity and quality; 3) selection of appropriate
    technology; 4) decision making and recommendations. In order
    to support the implementation of the framework within the
    manufacturing industry, an associated software tool is
    discussed. 
     

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Alessandro Simeone , Yang Luo

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  • How to Manufacture a Sustainable Future for 9 Billion People in 2050 2013, 20th CIRP International Conference on Life Cycle Engineering (LCE13)

    Abstract

    There is a growing body of evidence which increasingly points to serious and irreversible ecological consequences if current unsustainable manufacturing practices ad consumption patterns continue. Recent years have seen a rising awareness leading to the generation of both national and international regulations, resulting in modest improvements in manufacturing practices. These incremental changes however are not making the necessary progress toward eliminating or even reversing the environmental impacts of global industry. Therefore, a fundamental research question is `how can future of manufacturing industry` A common approach adopted in such cases is to utilize exercises to develop a number of alternative future scenarios to aid with long-term strategic planning. This paper presents the results of one such study to create a set of `SMART Manufacturing Scenarios` for 2050.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , James Colwill , Leila Sheldrick

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  • Extending the Boundaries of Energy Management for Assessing Manufacturing Business Strategies 2013, Proceedings of the 11th Global Conference on Sustainable Manufacturing- Innovative Solutions

    Abstract

    Manufacturers are responsible for about one third of global energy demand, and thus have a responsibility for reducing their reliance on rapidly depleting non-renewable energy sources. Consequently, a plethora of research has arisen to develop novel ways of improving energy efficiency in factories by focusing on changes to energy intensive production processes and other energy using systems that support manufacturing activities. However, the ultimate goal of manufacturing companies is to maximise profit by refining their business strategy, highlighting the importance of assessing the impact of different business strategies on energy demand. Therefore, one of the key research challenges is to assign anticipated energy demand to various decisions within a business. This paper presents a hierarchical approach to attribute the potential energy demand of manufacturing activities to alternative business decisions, thus informing selection of the most energy efficient business strategies. 

     

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley , Leila Sheldrick

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  • Simulation of Energy Consumption in the Manufacture of a Product 2013, International Journal of Computer Integrated Manufacturing

    Abstract

    Energy rationalisation, the elimination of unnecessary energy consumption, is becoming increasingly important in a resource constrained world. The use of energy is a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions and much research has been done to reduce energy use in manufacturing. So as to enable the rationalisation of energy consumption, it is essential that it is understood where energy is being used. This paper describes the design and implementation of a simulation model that has been generated to support the modelling of energy consumption within manufacturing systems. The simulation model allows various ‘what-if’ scenarios to be investigated thereby enabling engineers to understand the impact of various manufacturing parameters on energy consumption and thus reduce reliance on energy and the production of greenhouse gas emissions.

    SMART authors: Shahin Rahimifard , Elliot Woolley

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