TopicP: Processing and Synthesis
High-tech products in use today (e.g. cell phones, PV modules, laptops and automobiles) are composed of several different materials. Beside standard materials (e.g. steel, aluminum, glass and plastics) several technology metals (e.g. rare earth elements, tantalum and indium) for special functions of these products are used. In the most recent EU Criticality Study, 27 materials or groups of materials are rated to be critical in terms of their supply risk and economic importance. Among them are many of the technology metals. To secure a long-term and stable supply of such materials, new technology ways are necessary, in particular new recycling routes. These would additionally reduce the often ecological and social questionable primary production.
Recycling ways for standard materials, which are used in large quantities (such as e.g. steel, aluminum and glass) and for materials, which are high-priced (e.g. platinum group metals) are mainly well-developed. In contrast, technology metals and plastics get lost along the usual recycling routes, since these materials are low-cost, often used in low concentrations and/or in complex compositions. Therefore, new and innovative recycling processes are needed, which are fast, cost-efficient and/or effective. Possible recycling ways include technologies like dismantling, disassembling, decomposition, sorting and chemical techniques that separates compounds of materials and composite materials, e.g. successive leaching, electrolysis, precipitation, deposition or gas phase reaction, delivering high-purity and ready-for-use materials. The session emphasizes new and innovative processes for recycling of technology metals, plastics and their composites.