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3,5 Jahre

Recyclable paper-based printed circuit boards


The Project

The EU project "CircEl-Paper" aims to produce functional printed circuit boards based on paper technology so that the electronics can be disposed of and even recycled using conventional paper recycling processes at the end of their service life. This could reduce recycling costs and facilitate the recovery of valuable materials.

Our activities in the project

The MATERIALS Institute is researching the development of suitable materials, as the cellulose-based substrate that is to replace conventional printed circuit boards must fulfil the requirements of the electronics industry. "We are developing additives to make the paper stable and compatible with common integration processes and we are developing inks for printing conductive tracks as well as passive components such as capacitors, resistors and insulators," reports Oliver Werzer, project manager at the institute. "We are also working on scalable processes that allow these new materials to be applied to a printed circuit board made of paper and enable rapid application in industry. The use of resource-conserving and environmentally friendly materials and processes has top priority: the materials used should increase the separation of components and their recyclability, and bio-based alternatives are being evaluated."

The researchers at the LIFE Institute are scrutinising the recyclability of the newly developed materials and evaluating the overall sustainability of the manufacturing processes and the recycling of the materials used using life cycle analyses (LCA) - i.e. from "cradle to grave". Project manager Sara Carniello explains: "Detailed LCA studies and the assessment of recyclability are not standard for such complex technologies. They require in-depth knowledge of the materials and technologies as well as further development of the methodology, especially for the assessment of recyclability. The circular economy and sustainability of the various approaches developed as part of the project will be assessed at an early stage and taken into account by the consortium in the selection and further development of technological options."

Fraunhofer ISC (Koordinator), Ri.se, Fedrigoni, VFP Ink Technologies, MMAB, Pagora Grenoble INP

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