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Comment Sustainability

Evonik joins ReSolar project for recycling PV modules

By Mary Page Bailey |

Evonik Industries AG (Essen, Germany) is part of the ReProSolar project, which aims at developing a highly efficient and special process for the recycling of end-of-life photovoltaic (PV) modules. Under the project management of Veolia Germany and together with partner companies from the public and private sector operating along the PV module recycling chain, all PV module components are completely separated for the first time. As a result, pure silicon, silver and glass, among other components, can be made available to the manufacturing industry again. The EU supports the project with a total of 4.8 million euros through EIT Raw Materials.

 ReProSolar offers an innovative management of PV modules, turning the linear PV industry into a circular economy in order to reduce waste and to protect valuable resources.

“Our process is based on a new delamination technology which is able to separate photovoltaic cells efficiently from the glass plate. Innovative physicochemical processes then enable the recovery of all materials without PV modules having to be shredded”, explains project manager Antoine Driancourt, Veolia Umweltservice GmbH. “Today, no industrial process in the world is able to recover very pure silver and silicon. This would be an enormous breakthrough for the whole solar industry in terms of current recycling standards”, adds Driancourt. From processing and raw material purification to the waste stream supply chain and reintegration into various industries, together with the project partners, the whole value chain is taken into account.

Throughout 2021, the project’s feasibility on an industrial scale is being tested on the premises of partner FLAXRES GmbH in Dresden and ROSI Solar in Grenoble. Through 2023, an annual 5,000 tons of disused PV modules are to be processed in a demonstration plant.

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