FRELP is designed to develop 4 treatment phases which correspond to an equal number of technological choices: every phase is concerned by a particular part of the recovering process, and
altogether they will achieve the goal to recover 100 % of the PV panels:
1. RAC: Recovery of Aluminum and Connectors
2. REV: Recovery of EVA and Glass
3. PES: Recovery of energy and ash from the EVA sandwhich
4. RSM: Recovery of silicon and metals from the ash
The project will be developed in 3 principle technical phases, that are accompanied by a set of monitoring and evaluation activities, dissemination activities and management activities.
Characterization and optimization phase
During the first year, 10-30 PV samples will be retrieved by partner PV Cycle and conferred to SSV to perform a detailed characterization of the very variable components of actually dismissed PV panels. On the basis of these outcomes, during 9 months, technologies will be optimized for the following most complicated recovery processes:
– Optimization of glass-EVA detachment technologies for industrial application
– Optimization of the plastics material thermal cracking in inert environment
– Optimization of the metals recovery process
Design and construction of prototypes
On the basis of the outcomes of the previous phase, 2 prototypes will be designed during next 6 months:
– the robotic system for detachment and recovery of aluminum and connectors (RAC)
– the system for detaching EVA polymer from glass and recovery of both components. (REV)
The prototypes will be built and commissioned during the following year.
A pyrolysis furnace yet exists in Sasil production site and will be adapted for the recovery of ash and energy from EVA. Other existing equipment will meanwhile be adapted for the recovery of silicon and metals from the ash.
Trials with the prototypes
After two years from project start the pilot plants will be fully functional to start tests with the technologies for the separation of aluminum, connectors, EVA polymer and glass. To this end, PV Cycle will supply about 3.500 ton of dismissed PV panels. Three months later the adaptation of existing equipment for the subsequent treatment phases will be completed and sufficient materials produced by the pilot plants for separation of components to perform the trials with the last treatment phases aimed at the recovery of energy, silicon and metals. In total the trials will last 15 months.
Monitoring and evaluation
During the entire project duration, environmental impact of the technologies will be monitored. A Life Cycle Assessment will be performed on the outcomes of the developed and trialed treatment process. Finally, also an assessment of socio-economic impacts will be made.
A broad set of dissemination activities will be developed during the project to inform target groups and stakeholders on the projects objectives, major achievements and results.
As main stakeholders are considered photovoltaic industry associations, PV panels producers, collective recycling consortia and associations and recycling companies, as well as scientists and public authorities. Also representatives of the industries that will be able to use the FRELP final products will be involved as stakeholders where their inputs could be fruitful for the definition of output requirements.
Target groups of the dissemination activities will be primarily solar module manufacturers for thin-film as well as crystalline PV; solar system integrators and manufacturers of mounting systems for PV-plants; glass manufacturers and metallurgic industries. environmental interest groups; public authorities, academic and scientific world, PV collector associations.
Starting from a mailing list that will be updated during the project, a project brochure will be produced and diffused (in Italian and English), press releases will be sent out at key moments and in occasion of events; presentations on the project will be given at conferences in Europe; a mid-term seminar will be organized as well as a final conference; and open days and plant visits on demand are foreseen.
Each partner places a comprehensive notice board at its premises to inform visitors on what is going on and by end of the project a layman’s report will be delivered to explain achievements to the largest possible audience. A regularly updated website will gather all news and publishable outputs as to offer a continuous communication channel with target groups.
The project will be managed on a daily base by a Management Team and governed by a Coordination Committee representing all partners. Dedicated task committees for technical matters or dissemination activities may be created when useful to favor partners’ cooperation. The management also deals with proper accounting and final auditing of expenses, networking with other LIFE projects where reciprocal benefits can be expected, and with the development of an after-life communication plan by the end of the project.