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Demonstration of the recovery of critical metals such as indium and yttrium by recycling discarded flat panels (LIFE RECUMETAL)
Date du début: 1 sept. 2015, Date de fin: 28 févr. 2019 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background The amount of Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) generated in Europe is about 13 million tonnes per year (13% of municipal waste). Studies predict this amount will increase by around 3-5% annually over the next decade. For example, approximately 150 000 tonnes of flat screens are collected annually in Europe, of which 120 000 are LCD and 30 000 are plasma. These represent a major challenge to the recycling industry. At the European level, the WEEE Directive 2012/19 /EU aims to prevent the generation of this type of waste, by encouraging its re-use and recovery. An additional factor is the demand for valuable materials used to make flat display screens, which is growing faster than supply due to a growing number of applications. Objectives The main objective of the LIFE RECUMETAL project is to demonstrate the recycling of flat panel displays (FPDs) to recover valuable metals such as indium (In) and yttrium (Y), and to re-use them as high-quality metals for new applications. This will help to reduce European dependence on rare earth (RE) and other critical metals (mainly imported from China), and to implement the European Communication concerning imports of RE and the WEEE Directive. The project will design and develop a demonstration pilot plant with a treatment capacity of 200 kg/h for discarded flat panel displays (FPDs). The aim is to build a recovery capacity of up to 80% for indium, yttrium and other metals. The pilot plant will be divided into two lines, the first will focus on disassembling processes and mechanical processes to separate and recover valuable fractions, and the second on chemical processing of certain fractions obtained in the first line for the recovery of yttrium, indium and other valuable metals such as silver. The demonstration of the plant’s performance will involve organising FPDs waste collections in the Navarre region, with the aim of recycling around 100 tonnes of FPDs on the mechanical processing line to obtain 1.5 kg of indium and 3 kg of yttrium in the chemical treatment line. Expected results: Development of a pilot plant capable of recycling up to 80% indium and yttrium content, achieving a purity higher than 95%; Obtaining up to 70% of recyclable fractions, such as iron, aluminium or plastic, by traditional methods; Recovery of up to 80% of other valuable metals such as silver contained in some types of FPDs; Recycling of 100 tonnes of FPDs during the demonstration phase, recovering 1.5 kg of indium, 3 kg of yttrium and 1.5 kg of silver; Reduction of the European dependence on Chinese RE and other critical metals by recycling FPDs discarded at the end of their life cycle; Reduction of the environmental impact associated with the primary extraction of RE from mines; Re-use the recovered indium, yttrium and other valuable metals, such as silver, as high quality products for different applications; Adaptability of the plant to different FPDs from different sources and with different characteristics; and Achievement of a technology applicable in different sectors and located in strategic places to recycle discarded FPDs, to obtain recycled indium, yttrium and silver as high added-value metals to be used for a wide variety of common applications.


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