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Dell has developed a concept model of a more sustainable laptop with a smaller bio printed circuit board in a different place for better thermal performance. The Luna design also reduces the number of screws to just four and uses a more sustainable aluminium chassis.

The design was developed to both reduce the carbon impact and help with repairability.  

“In the last year alone we introduced closed-loop aluminium from out of use hard drives, bioplastics made from tree waste in the paper making process and scaled our use of reclaimed carbon fibre to over 1.2 million pounds,” said Glen Robson,  CTO of the Client Solutions Group at Dell Technologies. “Last year we shared our vision for a parallel innovation workstream to accelerate circular design and today we’re sharing the first prototype from these efforts, Concept Luna.”

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The proof-of-concept was developed in collaboration with Intel to make components immediately accessible, replaceable and reusable, reducing resource use and keeping even more circular materials in the economy. “It was created to test what could be possible, not to be manufactured and sold. But if all the design ideas in Concept Luna were realized, we could expect to see an estimated 50 percent reduction in overall product carbon footprint,” said Robson.

The motherboard can be one of the most energy intense components to manufacture, he says, and the design shrinks the total board area by approximately 75 percent 5,580 mm2 with 20 percent less components.

The PCB is made with flax fibre in the base and water-soluble polymer as the glue to replace the traditional plastic laminates and the water-soluble polymer can dissolve. This allows recyclers to more easily separate metals and components from the boards.

This combination  could reduce the carbon footprint of the motherboard by 50 percent and the smaller motherboard opens up new design options.

“We completely reconsidered the layout of all internal components, relocating that smaller motherboard to the top cover puts it closer to a larger surface area exposed to the cooler air outside,” said Robson. “This, combined with separating it from the battery charging unit in the base, leads to better passive heat distribution and could totally eliminate the need for a fan. These efficiencies could significantly reduce the overall power needs, making way for a smaller battery with advanced deep-cycle cells that is still powerful enough for daily use.

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The aluminium chassis uses metal processed using hydroelectric power and is stamped rather than cast as this uses less energy and produces minimal scrap.

“We need to move from use, then recycle, to use, reuse multiple times and then recycle when the material is no longer usable in its original form. This iteration of Concept Luna does just that. It shows a vision for what could be,” he said.

To increase the ease of repair, the design has just four screws, reducing the time to disassemble, repair and reassemble key components by approximately 1.5 hours. The palmrest assembly is also intentionally designed for ease of repair and reuse and the keyboard mechanisms provide clean, easy separation from other components and simplify recycling.

“Proving what might be possible is only the first step, the next is to take these innovative sustainable design ideas and evaluate which have the greatest potential to scale across our product portfolio,” said Robson

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