Companies from a dozen EU member states will commit the public funds in a bid to come up with novel battery chemistries and production methods as well as recycling and circular economy innovation.
An extensive European Commission regulation has set the bar on those economic activities deemed to help in the war against global heating and, by implication, those which may hinder the effort.
A number of companies are now racing to find new materials to replace toxic or otherwise unsafe elements in PV modules, in pursuit of circular economic ideals. In a similar vein, many researchers are also looking for ways to recycle and reuse some of these materials at the end of solar panel lifetimes. In line with these efforts, artificial intelligence and machine learning now play a critical role in identifying new chemical footprints for PV modules and cells.
In February, non-profit EU solar panel recycling body PV Cycle announced it had collected 5,000 tons of modules in France, of which 94.7% could be recycled. A reader asked us about the remaining 5.3% and here, PV Cycle’s communications manager, Bertrand Lempkowicz, responds.
Amid a growing appetite for sustainability from customers, Lithuanian solar panel maker Solitek is applying circular principles to its production operations. Measures include embracing digitalization and new approaches to design. Project manager Tadas Radavičius has spoken to pv magazine about the company’s work and how Solitek is supporting European projects which are considering circular solar.
With electric vehicles starting to gain traction, the International Energy Agency’s updated, ten-year e-mobility forecast has suggested geopolitical and economic concerns will trump environmental niceties when it comes to encouraging recycling. But what price ever-cheaper batteries?
Scientists in Australia have developed a new transparent conductive oxide which could be used in solar cells, smart windows and other applications. The material is indium free and recyclable, according to the researchers.
Solar PV is on track to become a terawatt-scale industry. With this opportunity comes challenges, particularly when future raw material and manufacturing volumes are considered. For progress to be made, sustainability becomes a crucial issue. Already the first global sustainability standard for solar modules and inverters has been introduced, and it is likely mandatory measures will be applied in Europe via the Ecodesign directive. Ahead of the upcoming pv magazine Roundtable on sustainability, SMA answers some key questions about certification.
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