Recycling Solar and Photovoltaic (PV) panels: plants, equipments and machines for recycling and recovery of solar cells and photovoltaic cells. The durability of photovoltaic panels is estimated at about 10 years from the time of installation. The performance of the panel decreases over time and it is necessary to replace it with more modern and performing materials and technologies. 78 million metric tons of first and second generation photovoltaic and solar panels must be disposed of by 2050 and, more appropriately, recycled for the recovery of construction materials. The International Energy Agency (IEA) estimates that to date only 10% of panels are recycled globally. On average, solar panels have an average size of about 1.6 meters by 1 meter (1.6 m x 1 m) and weigh between 18 and 25 kilograms. divided between:
The process begins with the collection and transport of the panels to the recycling plant. Once they arrive at the plant, the panels are pre-processed to remove the external aluminum frames. This pre-processing step is usually carried out using electro-mechanical equipment. Once the frame has been removed, the panel consisting of a silicon and glass sandwich receives a first coarse shredding carried out with a series of industrial shredders. In this phase the recovery of part of the glass fraction and silicon powders begins.
The subsequent processing consists of a further crushing with the use of vertical mills to reduce the materials coming from phase one into a smaller and homogeneous fraction. The crushing mills use a series of rotating hammers to reduce the fraction to a grain size of a few mm. This process allows you to separate the different materials that compose the panel. Once separated, the materials can be further refined to remove any contamination of non-homogeneous materials through the use of screening systems and mechanical, magnetic and electromechanical separation. The glass fraction can be refined with the use of air classifiers. The materials coming out of the process will thus be ready to be reused to produce new photovoltaic panels or for other industrial uses, reducing the extraction of raw materials and the environmental impact of industrial production activities. An important example of circular economy and sustainable development that Stokkermill is able to achieve with the combined use of specific, precise and efficient equipment. Stokkermill is a leading brand in the construction of machines and equipment for the recycling industry present in 60 countries worldwide with a technical and commercial network firmly linked to the parent company based in Italy. Always oriented towards innovative development processes and maintaining high levels of quality, Stokkermill is able to realize all the mechanical and electromechanical components present in its machines and equipment, reducing dependence on the outside and ensuring full control of the production phase.
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