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Alternative Materials for Printed Circuit Board Production: An Environmental Perspective

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Department of Sustainability Science, School of Energy Systems, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT, P.O. Box 20, 53851 Lappeenranta, Finland
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Department of Mechanical Engineering, School of Energy Systems, Lappeenranta-Lahti University of Technology LUT, P.O. Box 20, 53851 Lappeenranta, Finland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Nicu Bizon
Sustainability 2021, 13(21), 12126; https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112126
Received: 27 September 2021 / Revised: 26 October 2021 / Accepted: 29 October 2021 / Published: 3 November 2021
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Materials)
This article investigates the potential environmental impacts of four-layer printed circuit board (PCB) production from cradle to grave. The study starts with a lifecycle assessment of conventional PCB production. Then, the alternative materials of polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polylactic acid (PLA)/glass fiber composite and paper are investigated for the substrate. A conventional PCB adopts copper as the conductive material and requires an etching process. The environmental impacts of changing the conductive deposition method to an additive method by printing silver nanoparticles is studied. In a conventional PCB, electricity generation contributes 41% of the global warming potential (GWP) and 38% of the abiotic resource depletion (ADP), in the fossil category. By applying an additive manufacturing method, the GWP of PCB manufacturing can be reduced to 14% of that of the conventional method. A sensitivity analysis of silver recycling illustrates that a 40% higher silver recycling rate would decrease the GWP of silver material by about 48–60%. Uncertainty in the energy consumption of PCB production would alter the environmental impacts; however, even with the most conservative energy consumption in a conventional PCB production method, the environmental impacts of the additive method are about five times lower than those of conventional PCB production. View Full-Text
Keywords: lifecycle assessment; printed circuit board; bio-materials; printed electronics; sustainable electronics lifecycle assessment; printed circuit board; bio-materials; printed electronics; sustainable electronics
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nassajfar, M.N.; Deviatkin, I.; Leminen, V.; Horttanainen, M. Alternative Materials for Printed Circuit Board Production: An Environmental Perspective. Sustainability 2021, 13, 12126. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112126

AMA Style

Nassajfar MN, Deviatkin I, Leminen V, Horttanainen M. Alternative Materials for Printed Circuit Board Production: An Environmental Perspective. Sustainability. 2021; 13(21):12126. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112126

Chicago/Turabian Style

Nassajfar, Mohammad N., Ivan Deviatkin, Ville Leminen, and Mika Horttanainen. 2021. "Alternative Materials for Printed Circuit Board Production: An Environmental Perspective" Sustainability 13, no. 21: 12126. https://doi.org/10.3390/su132112126

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