Solar-cell ‘doctor’ seeks to cure greenhouse gas emission problems

Solar-cell ‘doctor’ seeks to cure greenhouse gas emission problems

Technology News |
By eeNews Europe

“Our aim is that the solar cell industry should utilize materials that would otherwise end up on waste sites once solar cell panels are disposed of. We also want to make it possible to produce solar cell panels using less raw materials than we currently do," explained project research scientist Martin Bellmann.

Europe is looking to reduce its needs for raw materials and raise the level of recycling of resources in the solar power industry. A successful project aims to see greenhouse gas emissions from solar panel manufacture fall by 25 to 30 per cent.

Reusing materials and reducing the consumption of raw materials will make solar cell panels both cheaper and greener. When less new materials are needed, the emissions of greenhouse gases from their production will decrease.

Likewise, the energy consumed by these processes will be paid off faster than it is today and should improve market penetration for European producers.

“The overarching aim is to strengthen European companies who are driven by innovation and who are able to secure Europe’s power supply in a sustainable way,” explained Bellmann.

The aim is to reduce the consumption of raw materials by which the carbon footprint will shrink by 30 per cent for panels using the more common type of solar cells, which are known as multicrystalline cells.

For panels made of the most efficient – monocrystalline – cells, the corresponding reduction is 25 per cent. The objectives are to be reached via a wide range of technological measures.

A further aim of the project is to develop a solar-cell ‘doctor’ which is a fully automated system capable of identifying defects in finished cells and repairing those that are capable of being rescued.  The ‘doctor’ is intended to ensure the best possible performance of panels once they have been installed on the premises of clients.

The project started in October 2015, and will continue for three years.

"We hope that the results of our work will be on the market within year two of the completion of the project,” said Bellmann.

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