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Votechnik: LCD recycling not for the fainthearted

Votechnik founder Dr. Lisa O’Donoghue (centre) was proud her company acquired a US patent on LCD Recycling in 2016.

Irish tech company Votechnik celebrates its first decade in the world of metallurgy and automation formally this month. It is a fitting time to reflect on the 10-year journey, according to founder Dr. Lisa O’Donoghue.

After two years of research at the University of Limerick, Votechnik spun out taking the licence for the novel LCD recycling technology with it. Having secured EUR 6 million euro investment and three technology development rounds, Votechniks technology went live in 2018 at Irelands national recycling facility, KMK Metals in Kilbeggan.

While it seems to have occurred in the blink of an eye, the series of developments, teams, funding, and investments have been signs along the way. The journey has been a rollercoaster one – with the usual ups and downs, spins and loops! These journeys aren’t for the faint-hearted but are worth it for those that hold the course. 

It cannot be of more importance, as the world now turns its attention to a circular economy, clean technologies, and green enterprise. However, only ten years ago, heavy engineering projects like this in the green space were not attractive to the average investor looking for the next low-cost investment in a software development company that had unicorn potential.

It really is inspiring to see the world change and focus now on acknowledging and backing deep technology companies. Deep tech companies defined as those with the expressed objective of providing technology solutions based on substantial scientific and engineering challenges with high technical risk accompanied by the huge potential value of the solution to society. 

It is truly an exciting time now where there is so much impetuous for change and change for the better. What could be more central to our lives than the materials and devices that we use every day? With growing populations including thriving mid classes with increased consumerism, the need to sustainably access and recycle materials and devices is key and stop the pollution and waste generation.

As a company, we have held the ground in pioneering deep tech for LCD recycling and now synchronizing at the right time when LCD display usage is exploding. From TVs in every room to double monitors for the newly appointed home COVID offices- the need for recycling technologies and recycling infrastructure that can cope with these wastes is key and representation huge potentials to get our raw materials back. 

Also, on a personal level, as a metallurgist, it is an exciting time witnessing and being part of the new alchemistic circular economy movement. We are excited about where we are, what we are doing, and, most of all, where we are going. 

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