Italian PV module recycling consortium La Mia Energia says the Photo Voltaic Panel Mobile Recycling Device (PV-MoReDe) it has developed can almost completely recover raw materials including furnace-ready glass, silicon, copper and aluminum.
The process differs from conventional thermo-chemical panel recycling approaches by using a series of patented mechanical steps. Mia Energia said its technique can recycle any kind of PV panels in any state, including broken and soiled items.
Before the process begins, an operator uses a machine to place panels on a machine which removes the aluminum frame and electric wires box. Modules are then placed on pallets to be manipulated by a robot supplied by Swiss electronics company ABB.
The robot guides modules through special suction cups and feeds them into a squares cutter. The cutter divides the panels into squares ready to enter the recycling process.
Recovered materials are bagged, weighed on electronic scales and then replaced by the operator to keep the process moving.
Mia Energia said it takes around 40 seconds to recycle each panel, depending on size and recycling site conditions, and the system can process around 1.2 tons per hour.
This process can also separate all PVC, silicon and copper. The derived silicon is pure, with a gradation ranging from 45-65% meaning 99% of the raw materials can be recovered and up to 800-1,000 panels per day can be treated.
Reference- LA MIA ENERGIA website, PV Magazine,ABB website