Fraunhofer IWKS
2022-03-11 project

ReSi-Norm - Standardization of recycling processes for silicon solar modules

In the ReSi-Norm project a comprehensive approach to the recycling of solar modules is being developed. To this end, recycling processes are being further developed and collection and recycling rates defined.

Alexandra Fabricius
Responsible German body
Logo Bundesministerium für Wirtschaft und Energie

Project term: March 1, 2021 - February 28, 2023

Consortium partners:

  • Fraunhofer Research Institution for Materials Recycling and Resource Strategies IWKS
  • VDE Renewables GmbH
  • DKE German Commission for Electrical, Electronic & Information Technologies
  • Hensel Recycling GmbH

Project funding: The ReSi-Norm project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWi) as part of the "WIPANO" program (Knowledge and Technology Transfer via Patents and Standards).

Project lead: Project Management Jülich (PtJ)

Project motivation

Photovoltaics represents an essential pillar of the energy transition. However, high quality glass and critical resources such as semiconductor elements and precious metals are needed to manufacture solar cells and modules. Thus prices, availability and geopolitical influencing factors exist in a state of routine mutual dependency. Against this background, the recycling of solar modules is of economic as well as ecological importance.

In addition, with the increasing number of modules installed in the coming years, the number of solar modules that have reached the end of their service life and must be recycled by law will also increase.

To date, however, there are no uniform norms and standards for the proper recycling of PV modules.

Project description

The ReSi-Norm project aims to develop a comprehensive approach to solar module recycling that covers all factors along the recycling process.

To this end existing processes and concepts will be validated and further developed with regard to efficiency and source reduction. Special consideration is given to existing results and findings from current national or European programs and development activities.

A review of current processes for the disposal of solar modules will be carried out within the scope of the project. Based on this, possible sorting processes and different recycling scenarios for end-of-life PV modules will be developed. In addition, an effective recycling process will be developed, tested and validated as a standard procedure and evaluated according to economic, energetic and ecological aspects.

Furthermore, standard criteria for ecological and sustainable recycling processes as well as requirement catalogs for the recovered recycling materials are to be established. Existing recycling processes are to be evaluated and recycling rates standardized in order to achieve better comparability.

Project aims

The aim of the project is to develop a standardized approach with regard to suitable recycling processes and a draft standard for collection rates and realistic recycling rates for the entire recyclable material package of a PV module.

It is planned to propose the project results for standardization, both on the national level as a VDE application guide and on a European level to CENELEC.

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