Working with Intel, Dell has created a new laptop called Concept Luna with the aim of making future PCs easier to repair, reuse and recycle. Dell said that if it incorporated all the design ideas, it could reduce a computer's carbon footprint by up to 50 percent compared to current laptop models.
A key feature of Concept Luna is the redesigned components and a new, more efficient layout. To start with, the motherboard is 75 percent smaller at just 5,580 square millimeters and has a 20 percent lower component count. Everything is rearranged, with the motherboard close to the top cover to expose it to a larger cooling area. It's also separated from the battery charging unit in the base, allowing better passive cooling that could eliminate the need for a fan.
The extra efficiencies also reduce power requirements, allowing the designers to use a smaller battery with deep-cycle cells that offer a "long charge that can be maintained across many years of use, increasing refurbishment and reuse beyond the first product life it services," Dell said.
On top of making the design more power efficient, Dell designers used less energy-intensive materials that are easier to recycle. The aluminum body, for instance, was processed using hydro power and a more efficient stamped construction. Dell also reduced the number of screws by tenfold, "with just four needed to access internal components." That not only reduces material count, but repair time (to disassemble, repair and reassemble key components) by around 1.5 hours.
Other features include a palm rest that's easy to repair and reuse, a keyboard mechanism that can be easily separated for replacement and recycling, and a bio-based printed circuit board (PCB) made with flax fiber in the base and water-soluble polymer as glue. "What's notable here is that the flax fiber replaces traditional plastic laminates... [and] the water-soluble polymer can 'dissolve,'" making for easier recycling.
Concept Luna is far from the first green laptop concept. Framework, for example, recently demonstrated an easy-to-repair laptop with features like removable ports and components that are labeled so you can repair it yourself.
Dell might not be the most-loved PC company in terms of customer service, but it frequently tops corporate charts for environmentally-friendly initiatives. Creating a concept that points the way to easy-to-fix, more recyclable PCs is a solid step toward reducing plastic waste and pollution in the PC industry. Now, Dell plans to take the best ideas from Concept Luna "and evaluate which have the greatest potential to scale across our product portfolio," the company wrote.