In November 2012, ATMI unveiled a new technology called eVOLV, a clean tech solution capable of handling e-waste components in a safe and environmentally friendly way during the 3rd Annual E-Waste Management Summit in Las Vegas.
ATMI is a global supplier of specialty semiconductor materials, and high-purity materials handling, delivery solutions for the semiconductor and bio-pharmaceutical industries, which focuses on sustainable and safe manufacturing processes.
eVOLV, which is based on green chemical processes, makes it possible to break down, recycle, and reuse precious metals from electronics waste such as printed wiring boards (PWBs), using an environmentally friendly process.
Before we dive into learning about how the system works, let's look at some facts and figures. These stats point to the urgency of understanding what the planet and its people are facing, and why a disruptive innovation is important. Here are just a few reasons why this type of solution should be deployed and supported:
- It has been predicted that e-waste will grow to over 72 million metro tons worldwide by 2014.
- Less than 20 percent of all e-waste is currently being recycled.
- China, India, and other developing countries are receiving most of the e-waste shipped from the United States.
- e-waste accounts for 70 percent of hazardous materials in landfills.
- One metric ton of used mobile phones (~6,000 handsets contains 340g of gold, 3.5kg of silver, 140g of palladium, and 130kg of copper. This accounts to a combined value of over $28,000 per ton of mobile phone boards.
According to an abstract ATMI sent me by email, this is how eVOLV works:
The process is completed in a closed-loop system using a series of chemical baths, and desoldering techniques which reclaim much of the precious metal components for reuse. This technique is 99 percent sustainable, and can be implemented locally, directly in a manufacturer's warehouse. This approach also helps to relieve the global issue of e-waste being broken down in poorer regions of the world where it affects human welfare, and the environment.
Watch this video demonstration to get a crystal clear view of the eVOLV process in action:
The process shown includes de-soldering, recovery of components and chips, and reclaiming metal with 99 percent of most metals (including old, silver, copper, palladium, lead, and tin), successfully extracted at 99.5 percent purity. These metals can berecovered, and redeployed faster, and safer than in most other process, and can re-enter the supply chain as process-ready materials.
The eVOLV system's team led by Dr. Michael Korzenski, Senior Director of Sustainable Technologies at ATMI, is in search for market opportunities to help improve the way e-waste is currently dealt with around the globe.
"I believe with a process like eVOLV -- unique in the world at the time of this writing -- available today there are no more excuses for not properly recycling electronics in an environmentally friendly way. Making a step forward to a greener planet for future generations is everyone's responsibility."