Like many other companies, Dell Technologies re-examined its products to see if it could design a laptop with a lower carbon footprint and more advantages for its consumers. It was a tall order: to deliver a positive environmental impact, accelerate its circular economy practices, work out a robust e-waste strategy, and aim for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions. But it led to a new prototype — Concept Luna.

As Glen Robson, Chief Technology Officer, Client Solutions Group, describes the effort, “In the last year alone we introduced closed-loop aluminium from out-of-use hard drives, bioplastics made from tree waste in the paper making process and scaled our use of reclaimed carbon fibre to over 1.2 million pounds. But we needed to find new keys to open new doors to get us there faster. Last year we shared our vision for a parallel innovation workstream to accelerate circular design and now we’re sharing the first prototype.”

So, what is the concept and what kind of product can we expect? The Concept Luna prototype promises 50 per cent reduction in overall carbon footprint. The company says it experimented with materials to enhance energy efficiency, power and cooling. It shrank the motherboard by almost 75 per cent and the component count by about 20 per cent.

According to Robson, “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.”

The new design requires a smaller battery with advanced deep-cycle cells. The chassis was designed with aluminium that was processed using hydropower and produced minimal scrap.

“We need 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’,” Robson informs.

The prototype has fewer screws, for quicker repairs. The palm rest assembly is designed for reuse and repair, the deep-cycle battery promises a long charge and many years of functionality, and the printed circuit board is made with flax fibre in the base and water-soluble polymer as glue, making recycling easier.

When will it be available? Media site The Verge reports that the concept needs to be validated for mass production and many of the design concepts would be implemented by 2030.