- Lead Organisation
University of New South WalesLocation
Kensington, New South WalesARENA Program
18 September 2020
12 March 2024
- Project PartnersAzure 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.
Report: Efficient, Low-Cost, Eco-Friendly Solar PV Recycling Technology Interim Dissemination Report
This Report outlines achievements from phase 1, including modelling and experimental studies conducted, establishment of lab-scale pyrolysis and chemical leaching prototypes, development of advanced numerical models used to support the prototype design and reactor optimisation.
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.