A1 Journal article (refereed), original research

Alternative Materials for Printed Circuit Board Production: An Environmental Perspective

Open Access publication

Publication Details

Authors: Nassajfar Mohammad Naji, Deviatkin Ivan, Leminen Ville, Horttanainen Mika

Publisher: MDPI

Publication year: 2021

Language: English

Related journal or series: Sustainability

Volume number: 13

Issue number: 21

eISSN: 2071-1050

JUFO level of this publication: 1

Digital Object Identifier (DOI): http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su132112126

Permanent website address: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/su132112126

Open Access: Open Access publication


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.


Last updated on 2021-03-12 at 14:31