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Repro-light: when circular economy meets the lighting industry
The Repro-light (“Re-usable and re-configurable parts for sustainable LED-based lighting systems”) is a European research project that aspires to successfully initiate a transformation in the European LED lighting industry by the year 2020. This project harnesses innovative production technologies (industry 4.0) and materials to design a modular luminaire architecture with a smart production scheme as part of a circular economy, a reconfigurable customised LED luminaire, the ‘Luminaire of the Future’. When dealing with lightings, it is important to remark that great efforts have been done in the past to reduce the energy consumption during their use phase. However, due to the fact that LED lightings present a specific materials composition, with electronic boards and LED spots, their environmental benefit should be carefully considered. The Circular Economy approach seems to be more adequate to provide a complete view of the environmental burdens caused by electric and electronic devices starting with identifying and improving the materials used for manufacturing these products, and determining their failure rates and potential replaceability to elongate their useful life. For this purpose, this research includes an assessment of the lighting components using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology as per the ISO 14044 standard, paying special attention to both Global Warming Potential and Materials Scarcity indicators. The objective of this LCA is two-fold. On one side, determining which components of a specific linear LED lighting contribute the most to the selected environmental impacts and on the other side, determining how the design of the lighting can be improved by using a modular design that reduces the overall environmental impact across all lifecycle stages. Results have shown how the electronic components, control and electronic boards contribute the most to all the selected impact categories. Furthermore, this study has included a review of potential polymers that can be 3D printed and may replace PMMA for the optical element in the linear lighting. This change is expected to bring environmental benefits in the overall environmental profile of the lighting and the objective is to introduce the additive manufacturing technology into the production lines. Additional to this LCA, a more exhaustive analysis will be executed with the aim of determining the most suitable configurations in order to provide the required lighting and reduce the environmental impact associated. The LCA will then explore different scenarios combining number of linear lightings, number of LED modules, durability, power, dimensions of the control gear, possibility of removing internal wirings for a given scenario and therefore provide a fully modular lighting product. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 768780. More information on www.repro-light.eu.