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Taiwan-developed LCD waste recycling system wins R&D 100 Award

2017/11/20 19:45:51

Taipei, Nov. 20 (CNA) A system developed by Taiwan's top Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) to recycle toxic liquid crystal display (LCD) waste has won an R&D 100 Award for 2017, which honors revolutionary technology from around the world over the past year.

The waste recycling system, touted as zero-waste, eco-friendly and cost-effective, also earned special recognition from the R&D 100 Awards jury, which honors the top 100 R&D pioneers and their revolutionary ideas in science and technology every year, ITRI said Monday.

Addressing the innovative recycling system at a press conference that day, Hung Huan-i (洪煥毅) of ITRI's Material and Chemical Research Laboratories said if the liquid crystal sealed in a LCD glass panel is buried in dirt, it can cause greater harm to the environment than plastic products.

Even if the toxic substance is incinerated, the chlorofluorocarbons produced during the burning process spread in the air, destroying the ozone layer, Huang pointed out.

In addition, he went on, if the incineration is incomplete, more toxic chemicals, including dioxin and polychlorinated biphenyl can be released into the environment.

"It's an urgent task to recycle (such waste)," said Hung.

Believing the best way to prevent liquid crystals from polluting the environment is to reuse them, Huang said their research team integrated sequential separation, ppb-level purification and nanopore technologies to recycle liquid crystals, indium and glass from waste LCD panels.

The recycled "pure liquid crystal enjoys the same quality as a new product or is even better," said Huang.

The recycling system has already been purchased by panel factories at home and abroad, he added, noting that the system not only extracts liquid crystals from waste LCD panels at a near 100 percent recovery rate, but that recycled glass can also be used as soundproof or heat-insulating construction material, or as a heavy-metal adsorbent in waste water treatment.

According to the ITRI, the six-step LCD recycling system features separation, extraction, purification, scrubbing, concentration and modification, enabling the reuse of liquid crystals, indium, and glass from waste LCD panels.

The system "can transform the panel material (liquid crystals, indium, and glass) into valuable products, while increasing profits and reducing the production of waste material," the institute says.

"The benefits of this system include low cost, ease of downstream processing, high production yield and scalability," it added.

This year Hsinchu County-based ITRI won nine awards at the R&D 100 Awards, widely recognized as the "Oscars of Innovation" and the world's top innovation awards program for the past 55 years.

The winners of the 55th annual R&D 100 Awards were unveiled on Nov. 17 during the 2017 R&D Conference in Florida.

(By Pan Chih-yi and Elizabeth Hsu)
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