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Auer, Agathe, 2015. Photovoltaic module decommissioning and recycling in Europe and Japan : current methodologies, norms and future trends. Second cycle, A2E. Uppsala: SLU, Dept. of Urban and Rural Development



The thesis points out practical problems of waste management within the Photovoltaic industry and conclusions are based on empirical data.
Benefits for photovoltaic key stakeholders, like module manufacturers, governments and power plant owners are investigated. The conclusions drawn are based on interviews, literature review and online research. So far recycling of crystalline photovoltaic modules is regulated only within the European Union. Current directives governing photovoltaic modules frame the recycling targets in terms of weight. But the loss of resources like aluminium and silver, as well as lead and cadmium leaching have a negative impact on the environment and human health if modules are merely discharged after their life cycle. Eventually these materials will become scarce and affect the future production of photovoltaic modules. Therefore looking at the environmental impact of each raw material is a different, more sustainable approach. Yet, environmental effects are so far not being considered in the stakeholders’ decision making. The thesis shows that for manufacturers the main incentives to recycle are profit maximisation and image improvement. Including a recycling strategy into the manufacturing process is therefore actually increases competitiveness within the photovoltaic business. In order to raise awareness for photovoltaic waste, it is suggested to include the photovoltaic modules’ decommissioning time into Gantt Charts which might influence photovoltaic owners to purchase modules that are recycled after their life span. A future key development is likely to see recycled materials to be reused for new PV products and substituting materials that are harmful to human health and the environment. An overview of the current technology, legal framework and waste projection for the recycling industry is given in chapter 3 and 4.

Main title:Photovoltaic module decommissioning and recycling in Europe and Japan
Subtitle:current methodologies, norms and future trends
Authors:Auer, Agathe
Supervisor:Bartholdson, Örjan and Müller, Joachim
Examiner:Hansen, Kjell
Volume/Sequential designation:UNSPECIFIED
Year of Publication:2015
Level and depth descriptor:Second cycle, A2E
Student's programme affiliation:NM025 EnvEuro - European Master in Environmental Science 120 HEC
Supervising department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
(LTJ, LTV) > Dept. of Urban and Rural Development
Keywords:recyclability, legal framework, societal perspective, photovoltaic modules
Permanent URL:
Subject. Use of subject categories until 2023-04-30.:Energy resources management
Deposited On:12 Feb 2015 14:02
Metadata Last Modified:12 Feb 2015 14:02

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