Our pilot plant for PCB metal recovery has been developed by Smart Creative Technologies in conjunction with ITRI Ltd, a leading international metals research institute. Our environmentally friendly process is simple, cost-effective and can be used to treat any grade of scrap boards. Our process uses ferric chloride (FeCl3) and ultrasonic agitation to generate a cleaner, richer mixed metal ‘cake’ that greatly simplifies the refining of contained metals. All solders (Example: tin, lead, copper & silver) are dissolved, which releases small electronic components, undamaged, that can be treated separately to recover additional metals and polymers.

The only current commercial approach for recycling waste PCB's is smelting the boards in large centralised facilities used for extraction of non-ferrous base metals. Smelting PCB's has many disadvantages such as:

  • Very high capital

  • Very high operating costs

  • Low-profit margins which limit the feasibility of the technique.

  • When smelting large quantities of CO2 are produced (circa 3.1 x weight of GRP burnt),

  • Highly toxic gases such as CO, NOx and Br are produced and also a highly contaminated mixed metal.

Many researchers have attempted alternative methods for recovering metals from PCB's, but none have passed the research stages, therefore, smelting is still the most commonly used method. Our solution (WEEEcover) is groundbreaking it's the first process that is capable of recovering all precious metals and base metals from whole PCB's in one step, whilst also cleanly recovering the polymer/GRP for reuse - which currently isn't achievable since GRP is burnt during smelting.

PCB Recovery 

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