Friday, March 1, 2024

Dell pushes limits of sustainable PC design with Concept Luna

Dell Technologies has revealed Concept Luna, its first prototype aimed to accelerate circular design. The proof-of-concept was developed in collaboration with Intel and explores revolutionary design ideas to make components immediately accessible, replaceable and reusable.

“What if? That’s the starting point for every design decision we make at Dell Technologies – and how we push ourselves to not only create great products but also technology which addresses complex societal challenges,” said Glen Robson, chief technology officer for client solutions group at Dell Technologies.

“And with growing concerns about the climate crisis, e-waste and resource constraints, the question driving us is ‘What if we could push reuse to the limit and dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of our products?’

Last year, Dell introduced closed-loop aluminum from out-of-use hard drives, bioplastics made from tree waste in the paper-making process, and scaled the use of reclaimed carbon fiber to over 1.2 million pounds.

“Concept Luna was created to test what could be possible, not to be manufactured and sold. If all the design ideas in Concept Luna were realized, we could expect to see an estimated 50% reduction in overall product carbon footprint,” said Robson.

Some examples of the potential impact of Concept Luna, according to Dell Technologies:

  • Reduced product carbon footprint: By looking into brand new ways to increase energy efficiency, deliver better power and cooling and experimented with materials that have a smaller carbon footprint to help deliver a more decarbonized device.
    • Motherboards can be one of the most energy intense components to manufacture – by shrinking its total area by approximately 75% (now smaller than 5,580 mm2) and component count by approximately 20%, the carbon footprint of the motherboard could be reduced by 50%.
    • Reconsider 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. 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.
    • An aluminum chassis processed using hydro power and using a stamped aluminum construction requires less energy and produces minimal scrap.
  • Future vision of reuse, repair, and recreating: Dell’s position is simple: 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 exactly that, and shows a vision for what could be.
  • The palm rest assembly is intentionally designed for ease of repair and reuse. The keyboard mechanisms provide clean, easy separation from other components and simplify recycling.
    • The advanced deep-cycle cell battery provides a long charge that can be maintained across many years of use, increasing refurbishment and reuse beyond the first product life it services.
    • A new bio-based printed circuit board (or ‘PCB’) is made with flax fiber in the base and water-soluble polymer as the glue. What’s noteworthy here is that the flax fiber replaces traditional plastic laminates. And even better, the water-soluble polymer can “dissolve” — meaning recyclers can more easily separate metals and components from the boards.

“This concept, and future iterations and others that follow, are how Dell will build on the existing circular economy leadership across its product portfolio today to examine, re-examine and reconsider every step of the product lifecycle, to deliver even more sustainable products in the future,” said Robson.


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