Project duration: 19 July 2017 – 18 July 2020


The objective of the project proposal is to upscale and implement an innovative process cascade specified to recover raw materials from electronic display appliances and printed circuit boards (PCBs). These items are highly integrated composites of polymers (25-40 %), glass (10-40%) and metals, including critical materials like indium, gallium, germanium, etc. Due to the small size of these items they are normally not subjected to mechanical or manual separation processes and treated in smelters instead. Smelter technologies, however, do not recover materials like plastics and glass and do not focus on low concentrated critical metals.

The solution (technology)

The DISPLAY project intends to supply a technical solution for a material oriented disassembly of display appliances and PCBs by combining electrohydraulic fragmentation, spectroscopic sorting and the solvent based CreaSolv® process. This cascade of innovative and developed processes (TRL 5) will produce glass, engineering plastics like PC/ABS and metal concentrates. The latter will be provided to downstream hydrometallurgical and pyro metallurgic recovery processes, including smelters. This approach will increase the overall material recovery and the economy of the recycling process since a much higher percentage of the waste is transferred into and sold as secondary raw materials. The strategic importance of this approach is highly promising: The disassembly cascade can be operated in regional recycling centres close to the network of existing WEEE recyclers. Plastics and glass are provided for re-application in regional markets. The pre-treatment technology provides higher concentrated metal fractions for further use in existing smelter plants. In addition, however, it may open the market to specialized small scale hydrometallurgical processors (start-ups). Thus, the innovative process cascade is not a competition to existing smelters, but it will lead to a diversification of the raw material supply market. Finally, European WEEE recyclers will benefit from the development, since recoveries for sorted WEEE items will increase. The project is subdivided into 8 work packages (WPs), starting with the obligatory feasibility study. WP 2 will define and adjust target fractions in order to fit requirements of downstream processors. WP 3 will focus on availability and collection of suitable input streams. WP 4, 5 and 6 will upscale the single processes to TRL 6, optimise processes and products and finally conduct a test sample production at TRL 7 (2 tonnes). Basing on these results are business plan will be developed in WP 7 as a base for further commercialisation of the technology on a European and global scale. WP 1, Project Management, will ensure a smooth project organisation and internal communication as well as multiple training dissemination activities, including education of Master and PhD student and international workshops.


For more information, please visit the project website.