State of the Art of Recycling of Photovoltaic Panels Using Separation Technology
Pp. 90-108 (19)
The exponential growth of photovoltaic (PV) installations highlights the
necessity to cope with the environmental impacts which could raise from wrong
practices for disposal of end-of-life PV modules. In fact, their possible disposal in
landfills would represent a loss of materials and energy, as PV modules are goods that
can become very useful even at the end of their life.
In order to improve the valorisation of waste coming from end-of-life PV modules and
of materials they contain, high value recycling processes are needed. These solutions
differ from other end-of-life management alternatives, that are generally more simple
and economical, like for example the treatment of the PV modules in a recycling plant
for laminated glass or their disposal at a landfill after the recovery of the aluminium
frame and a pre-treatment in a municipal incineration plant. All these low value
approaches have in common the loss of valuable resources, represented by high value
materials and components contained in PV modules (wafer/silicon, indium, tellurium
and so on), which inevitably would end their life cycle in a landfill, without being
Differently, some separation and treatment processes have been recently developed,
adopting machines and also plants deriving from traditional mineral processing, which
allow recovering and recycling of precious metals and materials.
Silica, Metals recovery, Recycling, Separation, PV modules.