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Hybrid Microwave Energy

Unique equipment and processes developed for destruction of electronic circuitry and assorted waste streams

Savannah River National Laboratory

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Millions of electronic components are discarded in landfills, causing many landfills to reach capacity and hazardous materials to leach into groundwater.
Millions of electronic components are discarded in landfills, causing many landfills to reach capacity and hazardous materials to leach into groundwater.

Technology Marketing SummaryA team of scientists from the Savannah River National Laboratory and the University of Florida has successfully applied microwave technology to a variety of waste management applications.  As a result of this collaboration, unique equipment and processes have been developed using hybrid microwave energy for the destruction of electronic circuitry and an assortment of waste streams, immobilization of hazardous constituents, and reclamation of valuable metals.

Each year many products containing electronic circuitry are discarded.  Millions of electronic components and circuit boards must be disposed of in cost-effective and environmentally safe manner.  Presently, many of the products containing electronic components are discarded in landfills.  Due to the large volume of these surplus materials, many landfills are reaching capacity.

Over time, a wide range of hazardous materials contained within electronic components can leach from the waste in landfills and migrate into the groundwater resulting in undesirable environmental consequences.Description

The hybrid microwave system provides a simple processing method for the reduction of waste volume, immobilization of hazardous materials, and the ability to separate and reclaim important valuable metals.  The system is compact, portable, and can be operated remotely.

Electronic circuits and components from a variety of consumer products as well as from the DOE and DOD complex were successfully processed using this new technology.  Results of laboratory scale testing include the following:

-  A wide array of electronic components were successfully treated in a relatively simple microwave process
-  Significant volume reductions were attained
-  Residues were vitrified into chemically durable matrices that met important environmental leaching standards
-  Metal components were readily separated and precious metals were effectively reclaimed for reuse
-  An additional function of the system was the successful treatment of secondary gaseous wastes resulting from the process

The technology also has been applied to other potentially hazardous materials including radioactive types of waste, weapons components, infectious medical wastes, tires and rubber components.

Benefits
  • reduces waste volume
  • immobilizes hazardous constituents
  • completely destroys components
  • reclaims valuable metals
  • treats off-gas effluents
Applications and Industries

This technology can be applied to:

  • electronic circuits and components
  • radioactive types of waste
  • weapons components
  • infectious medical wastes
  • tires and rubber components
More Information
  • Combined system also treats off gases

    Combining the Hybrid Microwave Energy System with the patented Microwave Off-Gas Treatment System provides a tandem process that treats not only primary wastes (both solids and liquids) but also secondary wastes such as gaseous effluents.  In laboratory scale testing, secondary gaseous wastes resulting from the primary waste treatment process were successfully reduced to acceptable or nondetectable levels.
Technology Status
Technology IDDevelopment StageAvailabilityPublishedLast Updated
SRNL-L9100-2009-00141-1PrototypeAvailable07/20/201107/20/2011

Contact SRNL About This Technology

To: Dale Haas, Commercialization Manager<dale.haas@srnl.doe.gov>