Situational Analysis Of Circular Economy In The Data Centre Industry
The situational analysis report introduces the state of the art for the circular economy in the Data Centre Industry (DCI). The report provides for the first time extended characterisation results of DC including the material composition of network equipment (specifically servers and switches). Based on these results a screening Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is conducted highlighting the environmental performance to provide recommendations for ecodesign.
Urgent need to achieve higher material resource efficiency in DCI
First, the state of the art presents the current practices, trends and challenges in the DCI to achieve higher circularity. Besides, servers and switches were dismantled and chemically characterised (including Printed Circuit Boards (PCB)). A screening LCA including all the life cycle stages except the use phase is carried out to identify the environmental hotspots. Moreover, an economic assessment on a full dismantling business case is conducted to assess the feasibility of the introduction of a new stakeholder in charge of fully dismantling and distributing the waste streams to achieve higher material recoveries.
This document illustrates the urgent need to achieve higher material resource efficiency in DCI to ensure a secure supply chain of materials, especially CRMs. PCBs have been identified as the environmental hotspots with the highest CRM content in DC equipment and the ones with the highest economic and environmental benefits in the circular economy context.
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