How solar panels are recycled

Time:2024-06-06

Background

With the global clean energy transition and the rapid development of the photovoltaic industry, the use of photovoltaic panels has increased dramatically. However, PV panels at the end of their useful life, if not professionally recycled, will not only cause waste of resources, but also may cause pollution to the environment. Therefore, PV panel recycling has become particularly important.

Photovoltaic Panel Composition

Glass panel: protects the battery chip, increases light transmission efficiency, has good light transmission and durability.
Back panel: Supports the battery chip, isolates humid air and prevents short circuit.
Silicon solar cell chip: the core power generation component, converting light energy into electricity.
Frame: protects the edge of the PV panel and fixes the components, often made of aluminum alloy or stainless steel.
EVA encapsulation layer: transparent gel, protects the battery and acts as a shock absorber.
Junction box and cable: connects the PV panel with the load and transmits the electricity.

Recycling Value

Photovoltaic panels are mainly composed of glass, backsheets, cells, aluminum alloy frames, EVA, copper welding tapes and junction boxes, etc. All of these materials can be recycled and reused after the PV panels are scrapped. Through professional recycling technology, these materials can be categorized and recycled, then processed and used to manufacture new PV panels or other products.

Recycling process

De-framing:
Using a de-framing machine, the aluminum frame on the PV panel is separated from the main part by mechanical or laser cutting technology.
The aluminum frame can be recycled directly.
De-glazing:
Using a deglazing machine, the glass layer on the PV panel is removed by physical or chemical methods.
Shredding & Crushing:
The de-glazed material is fed into a shredder to be initially crushed into larger pieces.
Subsequently, it is further crushed through a metal crusher until the desired particle size is reached.
Grinding:
The crushed material is fed into the mill for fine grinding to achieve higher purity and smaller particle size.
The grinding process requires strict temperature and time control to avoid thermal damage or chemical changes to the material.
Sorting:
Advanced sorting technology, specific gravity sorting, electrostatic sorting, etc. are used to separate different kinds of materials effectively. The sorted silicon materials, metals, non-metals, etc. can be processed separately.
Recycling and reuse:
After purification and processing, silicon materials can be used to manufacture new photovoltaic panels or other semiconductor products.
After sorting and processing, metallic and non-metallic materials can be used in other manufacturing areas, such as metal recycling and reuse, pyrolysis treatment of non-metallic materials, and so on.

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