Researchers from the Gdansk University of Technology are recovering pure silicon from used photovoltaic modules under laboratory conditions. If the technology is implemented on an industrial scale, the consumption of valuable materials and energy in further production processes and the waste that remains afterwards will be reduced.
“We have developed a patent-protected way of extracting the silicon cell from the module so that 99.99% pure silicon remains in the recovery process and can be reused in the production of PV cells. ‘Our technology is unique in terms of pure silicon recovery and there is currently no similar solution in scientific publications worldwide, although we know that industry abroad is working in this area”, says project leader Prof Ewa Klugmann-Radziemska.
The research fits into the global model of a closed loop economy. With the solution, it will be possible to recycle modules at a level of 90 % silicon (including the recovery of aluminium and glass).