There is a crisis of solar panels waste: scientists are looking for a way out

There is a crisis of solar panels waste: scientists are looking for a way out

The new study offered a cost-effective way of processing solar batteries to help cope with the increasing amount of PV cells that are expected to be out of service by the end of the decade.

In an article published by a group from the University of New South Wales last week, researchers described the process of collecting and extracting valuable materials from solar panels to verify that it is technically, economically and environmentally feasible.

The process includes the collection of solar batteries, the removal of aluminium carcasses, cell shredding and the use of electrostatic separation to collect valuable materials, including silver and copper, reducing the weight of panels to 2 to 3 per cent of their original weight.

The recovered material will then be sent directly to the refinery for cleaning and reprocessing.

Dr. Pablo Diaz, the lead author of the study, said that it showed the possibility of launching a small enterprise capable of managing 1,000 tons of solar panels per year, which is approximately equivalent to 50,000 panels per year or about 4,100 panels per month.

"This method does not include the use of any chemical, it does not release any pollutants or hazardous pollutants, it produces dust from the fragmentation of the panels, but there are vacuum collectors," Diaz said.

At present, Australia has very little opportunity to process and process solar panels when they reach their end of life; this is considered an increasingly pressing issue, as the high utilization of solar energy on roofs and proposals for large-scale solar farms mean that an increasing number of panels will reach the end of their lives.

The 2016 report of the International Renewable Energy Agency found that large and early users of PV solar energy could expect the largest amounts of waste from old systems.

By 2030, Australia is projected to produce 145,000 tons of photoelectric waste per year, with 1 million tons per year in the United States and 1.5 million tons in China.