Recycling of waste electrical and electronic equipment in Ghana

Online Matchmaking Event on November 21, 2023

The matchmaking event to the Project EAG2-Rec aims to connect Ghanaian and German partners in order to improve ways of local recycling through knowledge exchange and technology transfer.

Matchmaking Event to Project EAG2-Rec
Matchmaking Event to Project EAG2-Rec


November 21, 2023


Online via MS-Teams - Register here


  • Gain insights into WEEE-recycling in Ghana in the EAG2-Rec Project
  • Connect with Ghanaian stakeholders
  • Present your Companies technology solutions
  • Explore collaborations and business opportunities

At the matchmaking event, Dr.-Ing. Peter Degener from Fraunhofer UMSICHT and the partners from BlackForest Solutions and German RETech will inform about the research project that answers on the question: How can the practice of recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) in Ghana be improved?

The matchmaking event aims to connect Ghanaian with German partners in order to improve ways of local recycling through knowledge exchange and technology transfer from Germany.

By attending, you will gain insights into WEEE recycling in Ghana, connect with Ghanaian stakeholders, or present your company's technology solutions and explore collaborations and business opportunities.


Project EAG2-Rec: An innovative technology for downstream processing of WEEE in Ghana

The aim of the project is to examine how the existing treatment of WEEE can be supplemented by thermochemical methods and optimised distribution channels. This can increase the added value locally and at the same time reduce the environmental and health impacts. The study is being conducted by Fraunhofer UMSICHT, Sulzbach-Rosenberg branch, in cooperation with Blackforest Solutions GmbH (BFS) and German RETech Partnership e.V. as well as local authorities, companies and initiatives..

A formal recycling sector in Ghana is emerging, which is striving for ecologically sound WEEE processing and investing in processing technologies. The facilities available in Ghana so far are limited to manual dismantling and partly mechanical shredding and sorting. Fractions such as printed circuit boards, plastic housings, screens, cable granulate or batteries are produced.

But there is only a limited number of local customers for these fractions, such as copper smelters or plastics recyclers. As a result, most waste fractions rich in precious metals are exported. This places tight limits on local value creation and the revenues of local treatment companies.

Thermochemical recycling of WEEE

This is where the current project comes in: an innovative thermochemical treatment process developed at Fraunhofer is to supplement manual and mechanical separation as an additional downstream technology in Ghana.

The primary goal here is to bring the metals contained in the WEEE into efficient recycling processes. At the same time, waste containing environmentally harmful substances, e.g. flame-retardant plastic housings, is to be disposed of safely.

In the Fraunhofer process, WEEE fractions are thermally decomposed in the absence of oxygen and the metals are enriched in a solid residue. The plastics contained are largely converted into energy sources with a high energetic value in the form of oil and gas. In addition to copper, up to 19 other metals such as gold or platinum can be recovered from the metal concentrate in the copper recycling route.

This can be illustrated using the example of a desktop PC: While such a device is traded at an landfill for the equivalent of about EUR 1.54, the thermochemical process combined with downstream metal recycling alone could recover metals worth about EUR 20.80. In addition, the resulting oils and gases can be used for energy recovery.

New options for local value creation

Local value creation could be increased many times over through such a new, locally operated downstream process. On the one hand, the income opportunities for the local people would increase, and on the other hand, the environmental and health hazards would decrease.

The technical and economic concept development is to be carried out with the participation of Ghanaian ministries, companies and authorities as well as in close coordination with already existing initiatives in the field of WEEE collection and treatment. Existing knowledge and infrastructures from ongoing projects will be included, especially the activities in the »E-Waste Programme«, which is supported by GIZ and KfW.

In order to be able to assess the application possibilities of the process, the technical and economic feasibility as well as the ecological advantages under the conditions in Ghana will be examined in the project. If the results are positive, the recycling model could be transferred to other countries with a similar situation, for example Nigeria, Rwanda or Côte d'Ivoire.

The project, entitled EAG2-Rec, is funded by the German Federal Minstry for the Environment as part of the Environmental protection Export Initiative. The project started in January 2022 and will run for 2 years.

Modular pilot plant for the thermochemical treatment of WEEE at Fraunhofer UMSICHT in Sulzbach-Rosenberg.
Economical operation is already possible from reactor sizes of 70 kg / h.
Various fractions of WEEE can be thermochemically processed. Even shredder residues still contain valuable metals and energy.

Visit of the GIZ Ghana in Sulzbach-Rosenberg

Update May 2023

© Fraunhofer UMSICHT
Pyrolysis plant e.g. for the treatment of electronic scrap in the Fraunhofer UMSICHT pilot plant in Sulzbach-Rosenberg.

Thomas Fehn (Group Manager Recycling Technologies) and Philipp Riemensperger (Research Associate) received Mr. Markus Spitzbart (Senior Advisor) from the E-Waste Program of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) from Accra, Ghana, on May 04, 2023.

The technical principle of the iCycle process was explained to Mr. Spitzbart and demonstrated using the example of the technical test facilities at Fraunhofer UMSICHT. It was jointly discussed to what extent and for which critical fractions from manual WEEE pre-treatment in the Ghanaian context the iCycle pyrolysis process could represent a practicable solution for feedstock recycling in the context of thermo-chemical processing in the medium to long term.

It was agreed to remain in further exchange on this.

Project presentation at RETech working meeting in Leipzig

Update March2023

Project leader Dr. Peter Degener presented the EAG2-Rec project at the meeting of the WEEE and Batteries Working Group of the German Recycling Technologies and Waste Management Partnership e.V. (RETech) on March 14, 2023 at the DBFZ in Leipzig.

In particular, the staged concept for the treatment of WEEE developed so far was discussed with the participants of the working group and a further exchange was agreed upon.

In addition, the possibility of participating in a planned match-making event in the 2nd half of 2023 was presented, at which German and Ghanaian interested parties and investors can exchange information and agree on cooperations.

Construction of the E-Scrap Handover Centre (HOC)

Update July 2022 I Visit at HOC building site

Construction site of the Handover Centre (HOC)
Inspection of the HOC under construction during an on-site meeting with representatives of Ghanaian authorities and the project consortium in July 2022.

The construction of the E-Scrap Handover Centre (HOC) on the grounds of the Atomic Energy Centre in Accra is making great progress.

Completion is planned for October 2022. Subsequently, modern treatment capacities for e-scrap as evaluated in EAG2-REC are urgently needed to also ensure the acceptance of e-scrap.

Representatives of the project consortium participated in the inspection of the HOC in July 2022. In addition, other interested companies were visited during the stay and the objectives of the EAG2-REC project were discussed, the concept and potentials for the extended treatment of WEEE were presented.

Presentation of the EAG²-Rec project at IFAT

Update June 2022 | Presentation of concept development

Presentation of the EAG2-Rec project at IFAT 2022, followed by a productive discussion with representatives of an African delegation.
Lena Bersch from Fraunhofer UMSICHT speaks to the interested audience.

On 30th of May 2022, the project team took the opportunity to promote and discuss the EAG²-Rec project at an event during this year’s IFAT, the world's Leading Trade Fair for Water, Sewage, Waste and Raw Materials Management in Munich.

At first, Rebecca Bliklen from BlackForest Solutions GmbH presented the project idea and lessons learnt from the implementation the precursor project of EAG2-Rec on the incentive-based collection of e-waste in Ghana. In a second presentation, Lena Bersch from Fraunhofer UMSICHT Sulzbach-Rosenberg presented the current status of WEEE management in Ghana and the outlook on the concept development plans.

High potential for transfer projects

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion on the risks and chances of both approaches as well as their transferability to other countries in sub-Sahara Africa. Several participants of the event – representatives of associations and WEEE treatment companies from Nigeria as well as local offices of UNIDO – a high potential of these or similar projects in their home countries. 

Project Kick-Off in Ghana

Update March 2022 | EAG2 project team visits key stakeholders in Ghana

For the project kick-off of the EAG2-Rec project, the project team of Fraunhofer UMSICHT and BlackForest Solutions GmbH met with key stakeholders from research, politics and industry in Ghana.

The exchange with experts from the Mountain Research Institute (MRI), the Project Implementation Unit (PIU) for the e-waste programme of GIZ and KfW, and the specialists for e-waste at the Ministry of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) and at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) provided important insights for the further development of the project.

The objectives of the project to further develop the formal recycling sector in Ghana based on the existing structures were welcomed by the local partners. This has created an important basis for the planned technology transfer from Germany.

Project funding

The project, entitled EAG2-Rec, is funded by the German Federal Minstry for the Environment as part of the Environmental protection Export Initiative. The project started in January 2022 and will run for 2 years.