Mas­ters (by Research) Project Title  Par­ti­tion­ing of Ag, B, P in Liq­uid Sil­i­con and Oxides dur­ing Recy­cling and Refin­ing of End-of-Life (EoL) Pho­to­volta­ic (PV) Cell  Posi­tion Pur­pose  A Mas­ters (by Research) schol­ar­ship is avail­able for a suit­able can­di­date to under­take mas­ters project on “Par­ti­tion­ing of Ag, B, P in Liq­uid Sil­i­con and Oxides dur­ing Recy­cling and Refin­ing of End-of-Life (EoL) Pho­to­volta­ic (PV) Cell”. The suc­cess­ful appli­cant will car­ry out the research work close­ly with Swin­burne Researchers, CSIRO (Com­mon­wealth Sci­en­tif­ic and Indus­tri­al Research Organ­i­sa­tion, Aus­tralia) and relat­ed indus­try part­ners.
There is a gen­uine world­wide prob­lem of an 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 dur­ing the man­u­fac­tur­ing of PV Cells(account for up to 45% loss of ultra­pure mate­ri­als), totalling to approx­i­mate­ly 160,000 tonnes/year (and increas­ing if not processed). The mas­ters project is part of a broad­er project to devel­op a unique pyromet­al­lur­gi­cal process that allows high vol­ume and high through­put recy­cling and pro­cess­ing of end-of-life (EoL) Si Pho­to­volta­ic (PV)-cells and alter­na­tive sil­i­con source (e.g. Si kerf). The process involves the appli­ca­tion of volt­age through elec­trodes placed across molten sil­i­con and slag phas­es dur­ing slag refin­ing reac­tions. This results in the
removal of impu­ri­ties (such as Boron (B) and Phos­pho­rus ℗) at much faster rates and high­er amounts com­pared to the reg­u­lar slag refin­ing or cur­rent Si pro­duc­tion process; and at the same time pro­motes max­i­mum recov­ery of high val­ue Sil­ver (Ag) from EOL-PV, mak­ing the over­all recy­cling process eco­nom­i­cal­ly attrac­tive.

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