An association that has been described as being the first waste management program in the world for solar photovoltaic technologies, PV CYCLE, has achieved a new record for silicon-based PV module recycling — a 96% recycling rate in real-world performance — according to a new press release.
The achievement is the result of a process that allows for the recycling of silicon flakes — made up of a combination of EVA laminate, silicon-based semiconductors, metals, etc — in a relatively cheap but also “environmentally sound” way.
The new process is now being utilized at one of PV CYCLE’s recycling partners for silicon-PV (silicon-photovoltaic) modules in Europe. The new record is a big improvement, as current average recycling rates for silicon-based modules hover around “only” 90%. (Average rates for non-silicon-based solar PV modules gets as high as 97%.)
“Our recent breakthrough in silicon-PV recycling is the result of both continuous improvement and intensive research and development along the value chain,” stated Olmina Della Monica, Head of Treatment & Operations at PV CYCLE Association. “Thanks to our diversified recycling portfolio, PV CYCLE can offer economically viable solutions at the industry’s highest technological standards.”
A bit of background here, from PV CYCLE: “PV CYCLE’s Europe business has already been exceeding both industry and WEEE standards. All types of PV technologies are equally suitable for recycling. PV module recycling allows the recovery of various raw materials and helps conserve natural resources. Today, glass, aluminum, copper, plastics from the cables and junction box, certain semiconductors as well as silver can be recycled. Other materials such as EVA plastics go into energy recovery. PV CYCLE is today the only scheme guaranteeing comprehensive recycling for all kinds of PV modules, including silicon, CdTe, CIGS and flexible modules.”
“Our recycling solutions go far beyond pre-treatment and the recycling of aluminum frames,” stated Jan Clyncke, the Managing Director of the PV CYCLE Association.
Image via PV CYCLE
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