Incineration and pyrolysis vs. steam gasification of electronic waste

Sci Total Environ. 2018 May 15:624:1119-1124. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2017.12.151. Epub 2017 Dec 27.


Constructional complexity of items and their integration are the most distinctive features of electronic wastes. These wastes consist of mineral and polymeric materials and have high content of valuable metals that could be recovered. Elimination of polymeric components (especially epoxy resins) while leaving non-volatile mineral and metallic phases is the purpose of thermal treatment of electronic wastes. In the case of gasification, gaseous product of the process may be, after cleaning, used for energy recovery or chemical synthesis. If not melted, metals from solid products of thermal treatment of electronic waste could be recovered by hydrometallurgical processing. Three basic, high temperature ways of electronic waste processing, i.e. smelting/incineration, pyrolysis and steam gasification were shortly discussed in the paper, giving a special attention to gasification under steam, illustrated by laboratory experiments.

Keywords: Electronic waste; Incineration; Pyrolysis; Steam gasification.