Cradle to cradle sustainable pv modules
Date du début: 1 oct. 2012,
Date de fin: 31 déc. 2015
Even though solar power is pollution-free during use, production of solar (PV) modules consumes extensive energy and natural resources. Recycling is hardly considered during module production, and therefore cumbersome and inefficient. The fast growth of the PV-industry entails similarly fast growth in resource consumption with growing production capacity: currently modest amounts can become very high. Hence, Cu-PV aims to minimise the use of critical resources like energy (by reducing silicon consumption and improving conversion efficiency), silver and lead, while simultaneously maximising recycling possibilities: introducing design for recycling in this sector, and collaborating over the value chain for improvements in recycling.Current PV manufacturing puts limitations on reduction of costs and environmental footprint: screen-printed Ag-based metallisation prohibits progress towards phasing out lead and silver consumption and reducing silicon and energy consumption, while module materials prohibit efficient recycling of modules. Cu-PV will develop new metallisation methods based on ink jetting of Ag, Ni, Cu seed layers in WP2 that are plated afterwards with Ni, Cu in WP3, which results in >99% reduction of Ag consumption, enables replacement of silver, and as non-contact metallisation methods enables the use of thin wafers.The solar cell process before metallisation needs to be adjusted (WP1) to be compatible with this metallisation: back contact solar cell design will allow thin wafers and high efficiencies, resulting in 50% Si and 30% PV System energy consumption reduction. The module assembly and interconnection of cells will need to be optimised for the new cell metallisation. Back-contact interconnection will allow completely abandoning the use of lead (WP4), and will be designed, developed, and tested, for recycling (WP5). WP5 will in particular develop and demonstrate alternatives for the current practice of destruction of PV modules at end of life.
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