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Ex-ante Life Cycle Assessment of Bioleaching in Indium Recovery from LCD-Waste

  • Annemarie Falke (a1) and Michael Höck (a2)

Abstract

In light of growing demand and pollution versus a finite amount of resources, electronic waste recycling is a way towards material circularity. New recycling technologies not only face technical difficulties but also need to overcome challenges of feasibility in both economic and environmental aspects. An assessment regarding environmental impacts and economic factors at the early development stages of such technologies is necessary to ensure a successful establishment. A batch lab-scale process using bioleaching to win indium from electronic waste was drafted using recent research in the field. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was used to determine the environmental impacts in four different categories at the lowest Technology Readiness Level (TRL). The findings were then compared to two existing chemical leaching processes to put them in perspective. Results show that the electricity consumption is the major contribution to environmental impacts. The assumed bioleaching process has a higher environmental impact than the two chemical processes due to its high duration and resulting high electricity consumption. However, the research has also proven, that an LCA during the conceptual phase has a high uncertainty due to lack of data and knowledge about the process.

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Keywords

Ex-ante Life Cycle Assessment of Bioleaching in Indium Recovery from LCD-Waste

  • Annemarie Falke (a1) and Michael Höck (a2)

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