To main content

Recycling during solar processing

The drawback of the current 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.

Contact person

About 75% of the total energy spent in PV module manufacturing is spent in processing primary raw silicon to wafers. The silicon raw material energy intensity is strongly related to its purity. Traditionally silicon material waste streams from the PV value chain, such as kerf, has a high purity and a high energy investment and it is desirable to reuse it as secondary raw material. Silica (crucibles) and graphite (furnace parts) are other high purity materials which should be viewed as secondary raw material or raw materials for other applications. 

Closing material loops, refining, purifying and recycling need to be a part of the whole value chain. 

Expertises in SINTEF 

  • Argon recycling 
  • Water recycling 
  • Silicon (broken cells, pot-scrap and kerf) recycling 
  • Used quartz crucible utilisation 
  • Used graphite furnace parts utilisation 
  • New applications for silicon, silica and graphite waste