A conference on the project FRELP "Full Recovery End of Life Photovoltaic" by SASIL SpA (in partnership with the Experimental Station of Murano glass and PV Cycle Brussels) took place in Curino (Biella, Italy), on September 25th, 2015. This project was co-financed by European call LIFE+ 12ENV/IT/000904, an environmental program that promotes innovation and demonstration activities in the field of recycling and utilization of waste and in the reduction of energy consumption and CO2 emissions.
Eco Recycling was in the conference because of the close connection of the FRELP project with the Photolife Project. In fact the FRELP project involves an innovative and viable system for the recovery of about 93% by weight of the end of life photovoltaic panels’ components. This project has been designed to facilitate a solution to the problem of the WEEE disposal that will occur especially in the coming years (currently in Europe, there are nearly 90 GW of solar installations that will generate several thousands of tons of waste which will have to be disposed every year). The panel’s collection and disposal is regulated in Europe by the WEEE Directive of 2012, implemented in Italy by decree 49/2014.
The FRELP project was approved and funded in July 2013; the experimental phase ended in July 2015 and soon the pilot plant construction will begin. The plant is going to have a treatment capacity of 1 t/h of solar panels for a maximum of 8,000 t/year. According to forecasts in the draft approved by the EC, the plant should be actionable in the 2017.
The FRELP partnership wanted to share with the interested parties the first milestone of the project: it has found the technological solutions in all stages of the treatment process making the industrial process technically and economically feasible.
During the conference, PV Cycle, with the intervention of Olmina Della Monica, explained the current situation about the collection of photovoltaic panels at the end of their useful life. Gian Andrea Blengini of the JRC Ispra - Institute for Environment and Environmental Sustainability - presented the life cycle assessment carried out on the FRELP process, showing all major improvements that can be achieved with regard to the technologies currently available. Lodovico Ramon, FRELP project manager, has subsequently outlined the objectives of the project and the phases of the treatment process that will be start next year. Sandro Hreglich of the Experimental Station of Murano Glass, explained in detail how the solar panels are made, emphasizing the extreme variability of the materials involved and their respective amounts. The Sasil scientific consultant, Piero Ercole, explained the various technologies studied, simulations and tests to separate the glass from the adhesive layer based on polymers (EVA). Finally, Stefano Ceola (Experimental Station of Murano Glass), explained how metals will be recovered from the residual ashes obtained after the combustion process.
FRELP Project - http://frelp.info/