Scientists in Belgium are exploring the potential of recycled silicon in solar modules at the end of their life cycle for reuse in low-cost, higher-energy-density storage technologies. They claim EV batteries using this silicon may allow faster recharging and travel longer distances on a single charge.

Scientists in Belgium are exploring the potential of recycled silicon in solar modules at the end of their life cycle for reuse in low-cost, higher-energy-density storage technologies. They claim EV batteries using this silicon may allow faster recharging and travel longer distances on a single charge.

June 9, 2023 Pilar Sánchez Molina

A group of Belgian companies and research entities is currently trying to reuse silicon from end-of-life solar panels for the production of composite silicon carbon anode materials for lithium-ion batteries.

The Resiliex project, funded by the European Union, aims to demonstrate eight innovative technological solutions for carbon-free silicon production. Two research groups, including scientists from the University of Liege, are involved. One team, Greenmat, focuses on recycling silicon from solar modules for lithium-ion batteries. The second team, known as Gemme, develops technologies to recover silicon and silver from end-of-life panels.

The Si/C powders derived from recycled silicon have the potential to enhance the performance and charging capacity of high-energy batteries, enabling electric vehicles to travel longer distances on a single charge. The researchers also highlight the batteries’ suitability for stationary energy storage.

In addition to Recma Group and the Comet Group, which participate in the project, Ghent University researchers assess the environmental impact of new silicon solutions and explore recycling methods to reduce the environmental impact of mining and manufacturing.

The Resilex project, launched in 2022 with funding from HorizonEurope, includes the European PV association SolarPower Europe.

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