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Finding Ways to Recycle LEDs


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Thanks to their efficient emission of light, LEDs are growing ever more popular in various applications. Sadly these devices are not recyclable currently so many recyclers are just storing them until they can be processed. That may be changing soon though, as researchers at Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft have found a way of separating the components without damaging them.

One of the reasons we want to recycle LEDs is that the lamps and phosphors contain rare elements, and recovering them would reduce costs. Like all recycling processes, an efficient means of separating the various parts is crucial. To achieve this, the researchers are using electrohydraulic comminuntion, which uses electrical pulses in a water bath to break the LEDs apart. By tweaking the parameters of the process, like voltage and the type and amount of fluid, the researchers are able to the break points the LED components separate at. Already they have been able to adapt their setup for separating the components of the LED lamps used to replace more conventional light bulbs.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

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