Research and development of technologies for dismantling, desencapsulation, purification and recycling of rare materials in end-of-life photovoltaic units.


Person in charge: Ir. Thomas Hensenne (Research Engineer)

Supervisors: Ir David Bastin, Prof. Stoyan Gaydardzhiev

Consortium: Comet Traitements SA  , RECMA scrl-fsUniversité de Liège-GreenMat et Université Libre de Bruxelles-4mat

Funding: Public Service of Wallonia (Marshall Plan)

Project duration: 2 years, renewable

Keywords: Recycling, photovoltaics, silicon, glass, aluminum, silver, copper, EVA


The extensive campaigns and financial incentives have boosted investment in the photovoltaic sector. These equipments, high technology, contain many chemical elements (Ag, Cu, Cd, Te, Ge, …) whose supply is non-European. Securing it and the preservation of raw material resources are issues of intelligent recycling.

Following a call for proposals from MECATECH pole and under the Marshall Plan 2.Green, a consortium of Walloon SMEs and university laboratories was created. The consortium Solarcycle mission is to develop a processing unit for end-of-life photovoltaic panels (silicon technologies).

Laboratory Objectives

As R&D subcontractor for Comet SA treatments, the laboratory is responsible for establishing an innovative process of dismantling and processing of photovoltaic modules. Validation of different technologies available is made in the technical (feasibility), environmental (minimizing energy costs, recycling and recirculation of reactants, maximizing recycling rates) and economic (finding the best ways to valuations of the products obtained treatment)ways.