Second life for solar modules

Second life for solar modules

Technology News |
By Christoph Hammerschmidt

The research group is devising a modular cradle-to-cradle process chain that aims at function-conserving recycling methods for photovoltaic modules. The term “cradle-to-cradle” stands in this context for ecologically efficient approaches in the production of such modules. Under technological aspects, it refers to components that can sustainably be used in production cycles.

In Germany for example legislation calls for a recycling rate of disused PV modules of at least 80 per cent; in other economies that make heavy use of photovoltaics, similar regulation may be effective. Methods hitherto used to meet such regulatory requirements – such as shredding the photovoltaic modules and subsequently separating materials like glass, metal and silicon – can potentially meet this target. However, they lead to the loss of valuable technological components.

The research activities therefore are focusing on innovative methods that widely enable the value preservation of silicon-based PV modules through technology-conserving recycling methods. The concept to be developed shall be practicable independent of the respective manufacturer. The process chain provides for three phases: In the first phase, the recycler will perform a damage analysis to determine whether a module is partly reusable or only material recycling is possible. In the second step, the reusable silicon wafers and other components are removed and assembled to “second life modules”, using new methods. The unusable rest (glass, broken silicon, aluminum frames, noble metals) is then recycled at the raw materials market.

Members of the research group include the Technical University of Central Hesse (Germany), ZME Elektronik Recycling GmbH, SM InnoTech and Rühl Solar GmbH. The project is scheduled to end in July 2018 and includes analytic and conceptual works, laboratory trials and assembling and operating a pilot system.

More information:…


If you enjoyed this article, you will like the following ones: don't miss them by subscribing to :    eeNews on Google News


Linked Articles