With a generation of more than 2 million metric tons per year, Brazil is the largest producer of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Latin America. However, Brazil does not have its own way for treating printed circuit boards, a key component present
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With a generation of more than 2 million metric tons per year, Brazil is the largest producer of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Latin America. However, Brazil does not have its own way for treating printed circuit boards, a key component present in this type of waste. In this context, the processing of these components would allow the extraction of metals with high added value, mainly copper, silver, gold, and palladium. The purpose of this research is to design a conceptual treatment route, based on the integration of technologies described in the literature. After creating the route design, a mass and energy balances were performed, considering two printed circuit board source as raw material: (Case A) Wasted equipment in general; (Case B) Using only cell phones. For both cases, the treatment of 2 t·h−1
was considered. In addition, cost estimates and plant sensitivity analysis were carried out. For 15 years of plant production, the calculated Capex was USD 2,002,682, where an internal return rate of 140.1% and 3933.0% was obtained for Case A and B, respectively, and a net present value of USD 44,403,373 and USD 3,210,393,496 for Case A and B, respectively. Additionally, it was observed that Case A has a great sensitivity to the variation of the processing volume. Based on the present findings, this theoretical research has the potential to be a nucleation point in the design of a future industrial plant dedicated to the recycling of printed circuit boards, as well as to understand the key variables for the processing these components, based on Brazilian circumstances. Additionally, the project presents the hypothetical investment required for the creation of such conceptual plant, which is a crucial piece of information for potential investors.