University of New South WalesLocation
Kensington, New South WalesARENA Program
Azure Mining Technology, GrapheneX, Visy Recycling Australia, Providences Assets, JinkoSolar, Trina Solar, Central South University, DuPont, Research and Development Center China, Silicon Corporation (ENFI Group)
This project will develop a highly efficient and low-cost recycling system to recover valuable metals and silicon from end-of-life photovoltaic panels.
The rapid growth in photovoltaic solar panel installations has made end-of-life panel recycling an important topic – both as an environmental challenge and business opportunity. Current recycling technologies are impractical, attributed to low energy efficiency, high-cost and harmful chemicals. It is therefore necessary to develop a highly efficient and low-cost recycling system to recycle end-of-life PV panels.
Inspired by metallurgy engineering, the project will develop a highly efficient low-cost closed-loop recycling system to recover valuable metals and silicon from end-of-life solar panels. The project will leverage interdisciplinary research expertise in metallurgy (pyro- and hydro-metallurgy), photovoltaics, waste treatment, and close collaboration with industry partners across the whole supply chain in Australia and overseas. It will be technically achieved by combining state-of-the-art research methods including extensive computer simulations for system design and scale-up, lab- and pilot-scale experiments for system demonstration, and life cycle, economic and policy analyses for overall system evaluation.
The expected outcomes include a prototype of a photovoltaic panel recycling system and scalable computer models. Lifecycle and economic analyses, will provide a cost-effective, closed-loop and practical solution to recycling photovoltaic panels. It will open up and/or transform the photovoltaic recycling industry, ultimately allowing for a more competitive and sustainable photovoltaic industry in Australia and globally.
The project will directly employ nine researchers and involve two PhD students.