A new study proposes blockchain-based solar passports to address the challenge of solar waste management in India. According to it, such a framework would enable transparent tracking and verification of solar panels throughout their life cycle.
Researchers at the City University of Hong Kong have proposed blockchain-based solar passports as an effective solution for monetizing solar power plants in India. It says such material passports could fill the information gap throughout the lifecycle of solar modules.
The framework would enable verification of the origin, quality and quantity of materials used in solar panels, which would increase investor confidence and facilitate the secondary market of solar assets. Researchers Nallapaneni Manoj Kumar and Shauhrat S. Chopra emphasize the urgent integration of the proposed framework into existing or new Indian policies and regulations.
Researchers estimate India’s solar PV waste potential to be 1.95 megatons due to grid-connected solar installations installed in the country before January 31, 2019. The researchers modeled the recovery of the material using three recycling techniques, namely a standard industrial procedure as a baseline scenario, a thermochemical demanufacturing procedure and a delamination procedure.
In the basic scenario, the photovoltaic waste is chopped directly without removing the connection box on the back of the solar panel. The shredded PV panels are then processed using metallurgical and induction sorting methods to recover the materials.
In contrast, in the thermal and chemical scenario, end-of-life (EoL) PV panels are treated differently, where the junction boxes behind the PV module and cables are first separated. After that, the remaining solar waste is subjected to heat treatment, followed by chemical treatment to recover the materials.
Similarly, in the delamination scenario, the junction boxes and cables are manually removed from the EoL PV panels. The glass component is then isolated from the solar cells in the cutting step of the recycling process, and thermal methods are used to recover useful materials from the residual waste.
The analysis shows that the front glass of the PV module, which accounts for about 59.51% of its weight, is the most common material recovery component. In particular, 595 kg of glass can be recovered for each ton of photovoltaic waste, which means that in different recycling scenarios approximately 89.6–98 percent of the glass can be recovered.
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