At this point, it is clear that electronic waste shouldn’t be dumped in landfills. Recycling e-waste has improved recently, with more people disposing of waste responsibly in order to avoid environmental and health risks. Some organizations even sort and harvest reusable materials from e-waste. But what if our outdated gadgets could also provide clean energy? A team of researchers from the University of Basque Country developed a system for obtaining hydrogen from discarded electronic boards.
The researchers felt that discarded plastic should be treated not as a waste product, but as valuable raw petroleum-based material that can be used as a source for fuel. Using a gasification process, the team was able to collect hydrogen from electronic components. By treating the components with steam, the metals act as a catalyst and gaseous hydrogen is released. A patent for the process is registered in Japan, where researcher Andoni Salbidegoitia says they already practice the gasification of plastic waste on an industrial level.