n2s, a technology lifecycle management company, aims to increase the reuse of IT and telecoms devices and components, and recover and reuse all materials at end of life to create an infinite economy for the tech industry. They work with customers such as major banks, telecom companies and the NHS to help meet their sustainability and decarbonisation objectives, net zero targets and overall Environmental Sustainability Goals.
In partnership with Coventry University – n2s – have developed processes to recover metallic elements within old tech or waste that do not include incineration, large quantities of chemicals or acids.
Instead they have identified a sustainable solution for the recovery of precious and rare earth metals from printed circuit boards, which has allowed n2s to become one of the first companies in the UK to use these processes.
They have also been awarded The Changing The World Award at this year’s prestigious Innovate UK Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Awards. The Innovate UK KTP awards recognise the people and partnerships behind the UK’s most inspiring and successful KTP projects delivering a societal, social and environmental impact. KTP projects are part funded by Innovate UK- the UK’s Innovation Agency.
In collaboration with Coventry University, n2s developed an in-house process which uses bacteria and a process called Bioleaching for the recovery of precious metals from e-waste. The proprietary technique avoids the carbon heavy and toxic processes of traditional methods and allows the company to recover the metals in-house, whilst preserving the environment and preventing health-related issues caused by the traditional methods.
n2s are now able to test printed circuit boards recovered from e-waste and assess composition and value. This has allowed them to pave the way for sustainable processes for the recycling and recovery of valuable metals and elements.
Andrew Gomarsall MBE, Executive Chairman of n2s, said: “We are extremely proud that our innovation in this field has been recognised with this prestigious national award.
“We recognised the need for a more sustainable solution for the recovery of metals from printed circuit boards (PCBs). This led to the development of our proprietary bioleaching processes, which harnesses the power of naturally occurring bacteria to enable the “urban mining” of metals in a more sustainable way.”
Jan Stringer, the Knowledge Transfer Adviser who supported this 3 year KTP commented: “It was a huge honour to facilitate this project and witness the fabulous strategic impact it had to all the partners – and the Net Zero agenda.”
n2s are aiming to go beyond a circular economy to create an infinite technology lifecycle. Meaning that ‘old’ or ‘unused’ tech within business is reused, recycled, or sustainably mined for the precious and rare earth metals found within.