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New Silver Extraction Process to Boost the Solar Panel Recycling Market
Posted On: Jul 2022
According to experts, silver is the world's most effective and economical electrical and thermal conductor. However, silver is a rather expensive and in-demand mineral, and as the market for solar panels expands, it is crucial not to waste it. The photovoltaic sector requires around 8% of the yearly global silver supply, or about 20 grams of silver, for a typical solar panel measuring two square metres.
A recent team demonstration presented a more effective method for removing the silver from used solar panels. The technique will benefit the Solar Panel Recycling Market as silver could be reused in new solar panels, biomedical equipment, and other useful products.
The fine silver lines that can be seen on the outside of the panels' photovoltaic cells are created when producers mix a silver paste, screen prints it, and then heat it. The team successfully extracted this silver, thus, providing an interesting way of recycling silver.
Researchers added that UVA would utilize a brand-new technique called laser ablation on the PV cells. This will help remove the silver by reducing the silver electrical contact material with nanoparticles. The silver won't require any more refinement after extraction to be used in brand-new silicon modules. It might also be cleaned up for other purposes.
Solar panels provide up to 25 years of usable life. Due to the expense, manufacturers rarely refurbish the panels after that. Therefore, glass recycling plants have been the primary location for reusing old panels. This is because they can recover the glass and occasionally the frames before burning or disposing of the remaining components.
The team hopes that method could be effective. Further, it incentivises solar panel manufacturers and recycling companies to take back old panels and use them better for the benefit of consumers and the environment.
The patent-pending technology will be more environmentally friendly than the current silver extraction method, which recovers silver from old or damaged silicon solar cells using nitric acid. The procedure can be ecologically harmful and inefficient.
Waste from solar modules is anticipated to total 78 million tonnes by 2050. The low-cost, environmentally harmful landfill technique is difficult to compete with. Hence, the team believes the new technology can greatly help in this regard.
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