Australian scientists develop a cost-effective method to recycle solar panels. The method entails collecting solar arrays, disassembling them, shredding the cells, and using electrostatic separation to recover the valuable components. Such as silver and copper, bringing the panels’ total weight down to between 2% and 3% of what it was originally.
The researchers that looked into this technology concluded that it will be helpful in managing the increasing number of photovoltaic (PV) cells that will be retired by the end of this decade. A group of researchers from the University of New South Wales reported their findings in a study that was published last week. where researchers developed a process for gathering and extracting useful components from solar panels. to determine whether or not it was feasible from a practical, economic, and ecological standpoint. After that, the material that was recovered would be sent immediately to a refinery to undergo processing and further purification.
According to Dr Pablo Dias, the principal author of the research, we would be able to successfully handle 1,000 tonnes of solar panels per year. This will be equal to around 4,100 panels every month, which is the equivalent of approximately 50,000 panels per year. In addition, according to Dr Dias, it does not involve the use of any chemicals and does not produce any pollution or dangerous pollutants. However, the crushing of the panels produces dust, even though there are dust collectors present.
At the moment, Australia only has a limited ability to process and recycle solar panels after they have reached the end of their useful lives. Due to the fast acceptance of solar panels for rooftop usage and the increasing number of plans for large-scale solar farms, many solar panels will soon reach the end of their useful lifespan.
Earlier, in 2016, the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena) uncovered large-scale and early adopters of PV in a study that was presented to the public. This may predict the greatest amount of waste from inefficient systems. Nevertheless, by the year 2030, Australia would generate 145,000 tonnes of trash from photovoltaic solar panels yearly. The United States anticipates producing 1 million tonnes, whereas China anticipates producing 1.5 million tonnes. Smaller facilities may process material closer to its source, which reduces the amount of pollution caused by transportation.
Additionally, he has widened the scope of his study by working with a start-up company called Solar cycle, which is now building a facility in the state of Texas in the United States. It is scheduled to begin operations in November. Prof. Peter Majewski from the Future Industries Institute at the University of South Australia said that it made “perfect logic,” but he warned against using a strategy that is universally applicable to all situations. Because solar panels are going to be so big, we must develop a strong recycling business and technology.
While it was required to explore how to deal with solar panels that had reached the end of their useful life, Majewski indicated that it was vital to consider how to do so. It was an “issue that could be remedied” by instituting a stewardship programme that made it clear who was in control and the steps that needed to be followed to get rid of them.
According to Majewski, the topic of solar panels and wind is brought up in a variety of meetings regularly as a potential issue. Many different types of technology generate garbage. We will be able to handle it. It all depends on the laws and the state of the technology.