Solar photovoltaic tree and its end-of-life management using thermal and chemical treatments for material recovery

Pavan Gangwar, Nallapaneni Manoj Kumar, Ashutosh Kumar Singh, Arunkumar Jayakumar, Mobi Mathew. (2019). “Solar photovoltaic tree and its end-of-life management using thermal and chemical treatments for material recovery.” Case Studies in Thermal Engineering 14, 100474. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.csite.2019.100474

Abstract: Solar photovoltaic trees (SPVT’s) are chosen as an alternative option for electricity generation due to numerous benefits (especially in land utilization, urban infrastructure, and landscaping). Currently, SPVT’s are available in many designs, and one among them is the novel phyllotaxy pattern. Technically, SPVT’s seem to be more reliable and cost-effective. The expected average lifetime of the photovoltaic (PV) modules used in SPVT’s is around 25 years. Once, the lifetime is over, these SPVT’s must undergo a waste management process, and the scope for recycling is very high. Even though the scope for PV waste recycling is very high, many recyclers face the problems especially in estimating material recovery potential. In this paper, thermal and chemical treatments based end-of-life (EOL) method is used to estimate the material recovery potential from the phyllotaxy pattern-based SPVT. Initial estimations on the total embodied materials of the SPVT system is evaluated based on the components material fraction. Next, under the applied EOL management method, material recovery potential is estimated as per the material (aluminum, copper, glass, silver, and steel). Lastly, a few limitations with this EOL method are highlighted, and presented results aim to serve as useful data for the recyclers to have decisions.

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