As a result of global efforts to reduce CO2 emissions and dependence on fossil fuels, the photovoltaic industry is focused on creating products that generate solar electricity. As such, it is one of the fastest growing economic sectors, following an exponential growth curve since 1992 until now. Projections for photovoltaic growth are difficult and burdened with many uncertainties, and official agencies, such as the International Energy Agency, consistently increased their estimates over the years, still falling short of actual deployment.
The drawback of this fast deployment of photovoltaic products (like PV- modules) is, that even though solar power is pollution-free during use, production of PV-modules consumes considerably energy and natural resources. The fast growth of the PV-industry entails similar fast growth in resource consumption with growing production capacity: currently modest amounts of use can become very high.
Moreover, recycling is hardly considered during module production, and therefore still cumbersome and inefficient. Therefore, it is necessary to design modules for end-of-life recycling to allow recovery and recycling of all components, which will result in a much more efficient method for harvesting and especially reusing secondary raw materials, in addition to sustainable improvements in each process step in the solar photovoltaic value chain.
- Martin Bellmann, SINTEF: Introduction
- Arman Hoseinpur Kermani, NTNU: Applications of metallurgical refining methods in production in recovery of Si
- Trude Nysæter, REC Solar: Circular production of solar grade silicon
- Karsten Wambach, bifa Umweltinstitut GmbH: Sustainability aspects of PV modules including end-of-life treatment
- Wolfram Palitzsch, LuxChemtech GmbH: Material recovery through production to the end-of-life of photovoltaic modules
- Alexander Ulyashin, SINTEF: Combustion based delamination of Si based glass/glass photovoltaic modules and recovery of silicon