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Remanufacturing Perovskite Solar Cells and Modules-A Holistic Case Study.

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van der Windt, Peter 
Wagner, Lukas 
Narbey, Stephanie 


While perovskite photovoltaic (PV) devices are on the verge of commercialization, promising methods to recycle or remanufacture fully encapsulated perovskite solar cells (PSCs) and modules are still missing. Through a detailed life-cycle assessment shown in this work, we identify that the majority of the greenhouse gas emissions can be reduced by re-using the glass substrate and parts of the PV cells. Based on these analytical findings, we develop a novel thermally assisted mechanochemical approach to remove the encapsulants, the electrode, and the perovskite absorber, allowing reuse of most of the device constituents for remanufacturing PSCs, which recovered nearly 90% of their initial performance. Notably, this is the first experimental demonstration of remanufacturing PSCs with an encapsulant and an edge-seal, which are necessary for commercial perovskite solar modules. This approach distinguishes itself from the "traditional" recycling methods previously demonstrated in perovskite literature by allowing direct reuse of bulk materials with high environmental impact. Thus, such a remanufacturing strategy becomes even more favorable than recycling, and it allows us to save up to 33% of the module's global warming potential. Remarkably, this process most likely can be universally applied to other PSC architectures, particularly n-i-p-based architectures that rely on inorganic metal oxide layers deposited on glass substrates. Finally, we demonstrate that the CO2-footprint of these remanufactured devices can become less than 30 g/kWh, which is the value for state-of-the-art c-Si PV modules, and can even reach 15 g/kWh assuming a similar lifetime.



34 Chemical Sciences, 3406 Physical Chemistry, 12 Responsible Consumption and Production, 13 Climate Action

Journal Title

ACS Sustain Resour Manag

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American Chemical Society (ACS)
Royal Society (UF150033)
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