A novel recycling method for encapsulated perovskite mesoscopic photovoltaic devices with minimal performance loss
Dmitry Bogachuk a, Peter van der Windt a, David Martineau b, Stephanie Narbey b, Anand Verma b, Salma Zouhair a c, Andreas Hinsch a, Markus Kohlstädt a d, Lukas Wagner a
a Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Heidenhofstrasse 2, 79110 Freiburg, Germany, Freiburg, Germany
b Solaronix S.A., Rue de l’Ouriette 129, Aubonne 1170, Switzerland
c Thin films and nanomaterials laboratory, Faculty of Sciences and Techniques (FST), Tangier, Morocco
d Freiburg Materials Research Center FMF, Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, DE, Stefan-Meier-Straße, 25, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics
Proceedings of International Conference on Hybrid and Organic Photovoltaics (HOPV22)
València, Spain, 2022 May 19th - 25th
Organizers: Pablo Docampo, Eva Unger and Elizabeth Gibson
Oral, Dmitry Bogachuk, presentation 125
DOI: https://doi.org/10.29363/nanoge.hopv.2022.125
Publication date: 20th April 2022

The rapid development of photovoltaic (PV) industry in the last decades enabled devices with high power output, stability and low cost, currently available on the PV market. However, PV must also provide low environmental burden. In the context of sustainability, unique features of perovskite PV, such as liquid processing, defect tolerance and high absorption coefficient become particularly appealing, since they allow rapid fabrication of such devices without energy- and material-intensive manufacturing steps. [1] These advantages can potentially reduce the negative environmental impact of PV modules. For example, green-house gas emissions originating from global PV manufacturing are expected to exceed the emissions of some European countries within the next decades, if the PV learning rate will not be able to keep up with the pace of increase in global energy consumption. [2] Moreover, problems of waste flow associated with PV industry as well as depletion of ore and materials needed for conventional silicon (Si) PV modules become key challenges the PV sector are currently facing.[3]

Among different types of perovskite PV devices, the ones with carbon-based electrodes are currently capable of fulfilling most of the conditions for commercializing an emerging PV technology: (1) high efficiency, (2) high stability and (3) low cost[1] . In order to test whether such devices can also meet the last requirement: (4) sustainability, we conducted a life-cycle assessment (LCA) on perovskite PV modules with carbon electrodes, encapsulated with thermoplastic polyolefin (TPO) and polyisobutylene (PIB) edge-seal. Such encapsulation method provides sufficient protection against device degradation, as evident from our results of continuous maximum power point-tracking of encapsulated modules placed outdoors for 2,000 hours. The results from LCA highlight that the global warming potential (GWP) of such modules is only 247.2 kg CO2-eq./kWp, which is more than twice lower than that of conventional Si-PV modules. Based on the presented LCA, we identify the module components with the highest environmental burden, which should be recycled (or re-used), in order to reduce the GWP further. Finally, we demonstrate a novel method to recycle such encapsulated devices using a simple temperature-assisted mechanochemical approach with performance loss of <10%rel. after the recycling loop is complete.  We estimate that this recycling method is able to reduce their CO2-footprint by up to 1/3, underlining that perovskite PV devices with carbon-based electrodes provide strong potential to reduce environmental impact of next-generation PV modules.

This work has been partially funded within the projects PROPER financed from the German Ministry of Education and Research under funding number 01DR19007 and UNIQUE supported under umbrella of SOLAR-ERA.NET_cofund by ANR, PtJ, MIUR, MINECO-AEI and SWEA, within the EU's HORIZON 2020 Research and Innovation Program (cofund ERA-NET Action No. 691664). D. B. acknowledges the scholarship support of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU). S. Z. acknowledges the scholarship support of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

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