Electrically-Enhanced Recycling and Refining of End-of-Life Silicon Photovoltaic Cells – Process Upscale
A Postdoctoral researcher position (Level A6/B1, Full time/1.0 FTE, 2 years duration) is available for asuitable candidate to undertake the project on “Electrically-Enhanced Recycling and Refining of End-of-Life Silicon Photovoltaic Cells – Process Upscale”. The successful applicant will carry out the research project closely with Swinburne Researchers, CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, Australia) and related industry partners. There is a genuine worldwide problem of a growing generation of WEEE (waste electrical and electronic equipment), i.e. about 40 million tonnes per year. WEEE contains of more than 40 elements including the strategic metals and hazardous elements. The concentrations of the strategic metals in the WEEE are higher compared to that of in their respective underground ores. This makes them suitable as secondary metals sources. End-of-Life (EOL) Photovoltaic (PV) cell is also considered as WEEE. Considering the average panel lifetime of 25 years, the global solar PV waste is anticipated to be between 4–14% of total generation capacity by 2030 and rise to over 80% (~78 million tonnes) by 2050. In addition to the Si, EOL PV cell contain very valuable Ag which is used as metallisation pastes/inks in the cell. There is also a problem of Si kerf (slurry) waste generated from manufacturing process of PV Cell (account for up to 45% loss of ultrapure materials), totalling to approximately 160,000 tonnes/year (and increasing if not processed).
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