Protecting Endangered Elements
EuChemS Brussels offices
Rue du Trône 62, 7th floor, Brussels
22nd September, 2015
Chaired by Ian Duncan, MEP
About 150,000,000 mobile phones are discarded in the US every year and in the UK it is 1 million a month. Add to that 10’s of millions of computers and the amount of precious materials becomes huge. Some of these are reused in the developing world but almost all of them end up in landfill sites, causing pollution by leaching of metals such as lead and putting the elements involved in making them out of circulation. It is estimated that 70 % of the toxic pollution in landfill sites can be attributed to electronic waste.
Each of these electronic necessities contains small amounts of very many rare elements. In many cases the known world reserves will only allow current usage levels for 50-100 years. These are known as Endangered Elements because once they have run out we shall not be able to use the technology we currently use.
There are only three ways that we can avoid this:
• Completely changing the technology we use – this may happen, but we have no idea how or what elements will be required for that
• Recycling the elements that are in the electronic devices – almost nothing is done on this at the moment so it represents a huge opportunity for new industrial development
• Replacing the components that use the endangered elements by ones that are earth abundant – although this sounds ideal, very few alternatives are currently available that will do the required job. This is a huge opportunity for research and development which is just taking off.
In this workshop, we shall discuss what can be done, what is being done at present and what should be done in the future.
9:30 Coffee and Registration
10:00 Setting the Scene – Ian Duncan, MEP
10:15 Hunting the Elements of the Periodic Table on Spaceship Earth – Nicola Armaroli, Italian National Research Council
10:35 Sustainable Manufacturing of Transparent Conducting Oxide (TCO) Thin Films – Claire Carmalt, University College of London
11:50 The Story of Phosphorus – Willem Schipper, Willem Schipper Consulting
11:05 Critical Raw Materials: Possible EU Policy Intervention Strategies Based on Life Cycle Approach – Constantion Ciupagea, European Commission Joint Research Centre
11:20 Zero-waste Valorisation of Critical Metal Containing Secondary Resources – Peter Tom Jones, KU Leuven
11:35 Panel Discussion
12:10 Conclusions and Closing Remarks – David Cole-Hamilton, EuChemS President
12:30 Light Buffet Lunch
Registration is available at http://bit.ly/1JBB1cR