The photovoltaic industry is booming. Nearly 90% of all photovoltaic cells are currently made from mono and polycrystalline silicon. Given the soaring demand for solar panels, developing an efficient recycling industry that can handle all panel components is urgent.
Recupyl is playing an active role in a project to develop a comprehensive treatment process for solar panels. The project partners are working on an innovative process for physically separating the three layers constituting solar panels (glass, silicon, and backsheet). Once the layers are separated, chemical dissolution will be used to selectively recover the panels' PET (polyethylene terephthalate) and silicon. At the end of the process these materials are treated in either direct or indirect recycling systems before being used in other industries. The recovered materials-especially silicon-could then be used to manufacture new solar panels, making the manufacturing process more environmentally-friendly with lower greenhouse gas emissions and less toxic waste.