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ECN publication
Production of recyclable crystalline Si PV modules
Published by: Publication date:
ECN Solar Energy 14-9-2015
ECN report number: Document type:
ECN-M--15-010 Conference Paper
Number of pages: Full text:
7 Download PDF  

In this paper we investigate new approaches to enhance recovery of valuable materials during the recycling of crystalline Si (cSi) PV modules. The recycling of out-of-specs, damaged or end-of-life cSi PV modules will gradually become more important for PV suppliers and recyclers. Also recycling can help to further reduce carbon and environmental footprint of cSi PV. We tested two approaches to enhance recyclability of frame, glass, and silicon. The research was based on ECN’s conductive back-contact module technology. First, alternative edge sealants, easy to release from the module, were tested on their protection against air and moisture ingress into the module. Several alternatives were established which show comparable protection as the state-of-the-art silicone-based or double-sided adhesive tape edge sealants, but are much more easy to remove. Second, thermoplastic encapsulant was investigated as a method to improve recyclability of PV modules. The thermoplastic encapsulant used in this study results in PV modules with improved resistance to damp heat (DH) conditions, compared to EVA-based modules. The separation of the components (cells, glass, backsheet) in PV laminates with this thermoplastic encapsulant, using a wire saw device at temperatures around 200 degrees C, was demonstrated. This method may allow recovering of intact solar cells out of end-of-life, out-of-specs or damaged PV modules.

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