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Recycling and other growth challenges for photovoltaics

Recap: Circular Industries Talk with Malte Vogt

Every second Wednesday, the Circular Industries Talks are organised at the Circular Industries Hub. On Wednesday November 9, Malte Vogt presented at the Circular Industries Talks. Malte Vogt is Assistent Professor in Photovoltaic Technologies and Applications at the Faculty of Electric Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Sciences at TU Delft. Malte is responsible for research on circular photovoltaics and materials for circular renewable energy technologies. In this article, we look back on his talk about recycling and other growth challenges for photovoltaics.

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Malte Vogt

Recycling and other growth challenges for photovoltaics

Because of price reductions and technological advancements, photovoltaics (PV) have become increasingly promising to reduce our CO2 emissions and to combat climate change. The last decade has shown an average annual growth rate of 25%, and this is expected to increase in the years to come. In fact, to fulfill the targets set at the Paris Agreement, PV need to grow by a factor of 20-70.

Reducing and replacing critical materials are key for sustainable growth of photovoltaics.

However, future PV growth may be severely limited by the supply of critical materials. Reducing the use and replacing critical materials are therefore key for sustainable growth of PV. When PV panels reach their end-of-life, an opportunity lies ahead to recover the materials from these panels. Additionally, improved design incorporating the end-of-life state of future PV panels can facilitate recovery and recycling. 

Key take-aways:

  1. PV Growth by a factor of 20-70 is needed for the Paris Agreement.

  2. PV Recycling today: Mostly aluminum and downcycling of glass.

  3. Reducing and replacing critical materials (Si, Ag, In) is a key factor for sustainable growth of PV.

Malte Vogt

Dr. Malte Ruben Vogt received his Ph.D. degree in optical characterization and simulation of PV modules from the Leibniz University of Hannover, in 2015. Afterwards he focused on modelling the optical and thermal behavior of PV modules under realistic conditions and creating the daidalos-cloud.de ray tracing platform at the Institute for Solar Energy Research Hamelin (ISFH). In 2020, he joined the Photovoltaic Materials and Devices at the TU Delft to extend his research area to tandem PV modules and in 2022 he became assistant professor for Circular Renewable Energy Materials.

Curious about Malte Vogt's talk?

Watch it here

LDE CfS White Paper

Still curious to know more about this topic? Read the interview with Olindo Isabella, Full professor in Photovoltaic Technologies and Applications, in the LDE CfS White paper.

Recycling solar panels: a solution waiting to happen

The Circular Industries talks

The goal of the Circular Industries talks is to share knowledge across Leiden, Delft and Erasmus and to complement and deepen the knowledge already available within the Circular Industries Hub. The talks are organized on Wednesday morning from 10:00 to 11:00. The talks are online (Microsoft Teams). Next up in the CI Talks:  Julie Teuwen (23 November)