Photovoltaics (PV) has existed for over 70 years. Still, its adoption as a potentially significant contributor to energy needs has boomed over the last 10-15 years. Since the inception of this technology in the '80s, the total PV products throughout Europe now represent roughly 8 million tons of future PV waste.
Although guaranteed up to 25 years, PV installations are often replaced before their theoretical end of life. The dismantled raw material coming from production scraps and end-of-life products, inserted into an industrial recycling process, gives way to a new life circle in the market.
The EU-funded CABRISS project aims at pioneering a circular economy dedicated to handling the critical situation of recycling the considerable amount of photovoltaic waste for the photovoltaic, but also for the electronic and glass industry.
Main activity field:
- Three sources of silicon (Si) waste have been processed at SINTEF: broken silicon wafers, broken cells with anti-reflection coatings, and dry powders from Si kerf.
- In collaboration with RHP, SINTEF has demonstrated that ingots - size up to 156x156 mm2 - made from recycled silicon powders by hot pressing, can be sliced into +/- 170 µm wafers through wire sawing.
- Several ingots from different types of recycled silicon have been produced by conventional crystallization.
- In collaboration with pyrogenesis, silicon wafer equivalents have been directly processed by thermal spraying of silicon powders onto supporting Si wafers manufactured at SINTEF.
- <17% efficiency was achieved in Aluminium-BSF solar cells made by SoliTek on recycled silicon multi-c wafers manufactured at SINTEF.