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ADIR Report Summary

Project ID: 680449
Funded under: H2020-EU.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - ADIR (Next generation urban mining - Automated disassembly, separation and recovery of valuable materials from electronic equipment)

Reporting period: 2015-09-01 to 2017-02-28

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

Specific raw materials become increasingly important to manufacture high level industrial products. Especially
electronic equipment contains precious metals and a series of strategic raw materials. To date the material specifi c recycling is focused on masstream concepts such as shredder processes and metallurgy to extract the high-value metallic constituents, i.e. gold, silver, copper. However, a series of critical elements cannot be recovered efficiently or is even lost in dust or residual fractions as, e.g. tantalum.

In Europe rare materials as tantalum, indium, gallium, germanium etc. have to be imported because no mining and ore deposits exist. The recovery of such metals by the recycling of old electronic equipment grants the possibility to open a new source and closes the loop for a sustainable availability of such metals.

The goal of ADIR is to demonstrate the feasibility of a key technology for next generation urban mining. An automated disassembly of electronic equipment will be worked out to separate and recover valuable materials.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

Within the first reporting period, the work of the consortium concentrated on the requirement analysis and the process development.

The partners analysed the WEEE originating from mobile phones, selected mobile phones as well as individual electronic components to identify the most relevant species for elemental recycling. From this detailed analysis the requirement for the automated recovery processes were derived considering the technical and economical constraints.

The individual process were developed by the consortium and demonstrated on lab scale. Automated robotic handling and dissmantling of mobile phones extracts the PCB and other modules. The PCBs, also from other sources, are fed into an inspection system which determines the mounted components, including the chemical value. A subsequent laser-desoldering process extracts the selected components and collects them into fractions of enriched elemental composition. Metallurgical processing routes are worked out for the most efficient recovery of the valuable constituents of each sorting fraction.

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

The consortium has developed process not available before and demonstrated their feasibility. In the next innovation steps the processes will be implemented and refined to demonstrate their capabilities. The innovations will make available new pathways for electronic waste treatment and new resources for sustainable industrial development in Europe.

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