Research 294: Investigation of Indium Recovery from End-of-life LCDs

Authors: Chinnam Rama Krishna, John Mulcahy and Lisa O’Donoghue

Summary: The LCDVal project aimed to illustrate the potential indium value contained in liquid crystal displays (LCDs) accessible via recovery techniques, therefore turning liquid crystal panel waste fractions into a resource for critical raw materials.

Published: 2019

ISBN: 978-1-84095-861-4

Pages: 62

Filesize: 5,163KB

Format: pdf

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Identifying Pressures

The LCD Val project was focused on the potential for recycling and recovery of indium from waste liquid crystal displays (LCDs). Once the liquid crystal glass panel that contains indium is removed from LCDs at recycling facilities, the only available solution is to incinerate or export it. The LCD Val project focused on researching potential options for the recycling of this component to recover indium and generate a clean glass fraction, thereby turning waste into a resource.

Informing Policy

The data and information generated from the project include verification of the quantities of indium present in different LCDs arising in Ireland, testing of techniques to recover indium that are compatible with Irish recycling infrastructure, economic assessment of these techniques and selection of a best available technique tailored to Ireland’s waste sector, value chain and economy. These results provide valuable data regarding Ireland’s recycling challenges and opportunities and this information is available to inform policy.

Developing Solutions

The LCD Val project involved testing of hydrometallurgical treatment processes for the recovery of indium. Subsequently, a unique methodological approach was undertaken in which a series of pre-treatment processes were developed to up-concentrate indium within the waste fraction prior to the hydrometallurgical step, thereby reducing the cost and operational aspects of the overall process. A series of surface grinding, bulk grinding and laser processing techniques were tested and the laser/surface grinding technique was selected as the best-performing technique, with strong industrial applicability. A scale-up of the process for potential Irish deployment was modelled and presented in the key findings.