Why is silicon such a common material

Silicon from disused solar modules is turned into nanosilicon for batteries

Silicon from old solar cells could soon have a second life in lithium-ion batteries - at least if the two materials scientists Mokhlesur Rahman and Ying (Ian) Chen from the Australian Deakin Institute have their way. According to the researchers, ways of recovering silicon from photovoltaic modules and reusing it have been looking for some time, because the value of the material is extremely high. "We believe that this is the missing piece of the puzzle," says Rahman about the concept of dismantling photovoltaic modules and converting the silicon into nanosilicon for the battery industry.

Because of its high energy density, silicon is an attractive material for the anodes of lithium-ion battery cells. Rahman and Chen point out that the global demand for modern lithium-ion batteries is increasing and that many automobile and battery manufacturers are interested in the material. The two researchers were surprised to find that the recycled silicon appears to work in the same way as commercial silicon. The recycling of photovoltaic modules therefore has enormous potential to become an alternative source of nanosilicon for industry.

This is how the scientists justify the motivation for their pioneering work. They describe silicon as an exceptionally high-quality product with widespread uses that should not be wasted - battery-grade nanosilicon is sold for more than $ 44,000 per kilogram. In addition, in view of the electrification of mobility, there is increasing pressure in the automotive industry to find ways to increase battery capacity. Part of the recycling of silicon consists in bringing the silicon in battery quality to nano-size. And nanosilicon can store around ten times the amount of energy in the same space.


The report was written by the "pv-magazine" (Petra Hannen) editorial team in 2019 - the article may not be used without Petra's permission
Hannen will be distributed in 2019!
| More
Article by Petra Hannen | "Pv magazine"
03/2019 | Order online!