- Hello Jean-Christophe, so what brought you to Singapore?
I came here beginning of September 2018 to launch and co-direct, together with Prof. Madhavi Srinivasan, the NTU-CEA joint research Centre to develop innovative and energy-efficient solutions for the recycling and recovery of resources from electrical and electronic waste (e-waste).
- Can you explain your research topics in a few words?
This laboratory, named the NTU Singapore-CEA Alliance for Research in Circular Economy (SCARCE), is focusing on four research thrusts which are: discarded lithium-ion batteries, silicon photovoltaic panels, printed circuit boards and toxic e-plastics such as those containing brominated flame retardants. The process being implemented must be economically viable and respect the constraints set by Singapore, more specifically by the size of the country. Each type of process established to recycle those electronic wastes count as much as five to six different steps.
- What types of applications do your research activities lead to?
The goal is to help Singapore with creating a more circular economy and have the wasted electronic wasted material inserted back into the industrial loop. One example to do so is to take advantage of liquid carbon dioxide as a solvent. It is an environmentally friendly solvent, requires little amount of energy and does not create any extra waste. In another example, my colleagues are studying the use of organic wastes such as orange peels for the dissolution of lithium batteries or combining plastics with e-wastes for the making of new useful materials.
- What do you think of the research in Singapore?
Overall, Singapore provides a pool of highly qualified researchers and high tech equipment. In addition, the funding given by the Singapore government (via the PM office, NRF, NEA, MND & MSE) enables us to greatly accelerate our work to reach a level where we attract industrial partnerships and have a real societal impact. Also, both CEA and NTU provide in kind contributions, creating a unique synergy, which leverage NTU’s great infrastructure.
- How does the COVID-19 pandemic affects your work?
Since our work is experimental and is performed mostly within a laboratory, we had to freeze our lab activities for some time and it also made it more difficult to recruit researchers. It however allowed us to find the time to write patents and high level publications.