Innovative Technologies to Recover Secondary Raw Materials from End-of-Life Photovoltaic Modules
EGP is a global leader company in the development and management of energy production from renewable sources, with a total installed capacity of 54 GW based on an integrated portfolio composed of wind, solar, hydroelectric and geothermal technologies. In the pursuit of the goal of 100% renewable generation, solar photovoltaic (PV) energy will be one of the most relevant contributors to the growth of renewables in the next decade, with a foreseen constant increase of installed capacity. However, Enel Green Power (EGP) strategy also aims at the development and the adoption of innovative solutions able to support the transition towards a more sustainable and efficient way of generating electricity in the long term.
This Theoretical Challenge requires only a written proposal.
Some researchers show that a significantly growing PV panel waste is expected in the next future. Global installed PV capacity reached around 400 GW at the end of 2017 and is expected to increase more than 10-fold to 4500 GW by 2050. Considering an average panel lifetime of 25 years, the worldwide solar PV waste is anticipated to reach between 4%-14% of total generation capacity by 2030 and rise to over 80% (around 78 million tons) by 2050. (Md. Shahariar Chowdhury et al., Energy Strategy Reviews, Volume 27, 2020, 100431, doi.org/10.1016/j.esr.2019.100431). Although the amount of waste from photovoltaic (PV) panels is expected to grow exponentially in the next decades and between 80% and 90% in weight of PV panels is currently recycled, little research on increasing the efficiency of their recycling process has been carried out so far.
Growing PV panel waste presents a new environmental challenge, but also unprecedented opportunities to create value and pursue new economic revenues. These include recovery of raw material and the creation of new solar PV end of-life industries.
Although some high-quality materials, as glass, can be recovered with standard recycling processes, high-efficient recycling of PV panels can allow to recover also silicon and metals, which are generally lost in base-case recycling. Besides, Europe is highly dependent on metal imports such as Critical Raw Materials (CRM) as Indium, Phosphorus or Silicon and precious metals, as silver or copper. Aiming at reducing the waste amount landfilled and the import dependency on RM of the European economy, PV recycling is the most relevant, and also necessary, way to supply RM from the tremendous mine of PV waste as Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE). The projection of PV waste underscores the reality of a massive emerging market for PV recycling.
EGP is therefore looking for sustainable and innovative recycling processes to recover Secondary Raw Materials (SRM) from end-of-life PV modules (including early failed modules), aiming at increasing recovery rates, recovery material quality and minimizing waste production.
This Challenge provides contribution to the following SDGs:
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For questions about the challenge and your proposal you can contact EnelOpenInnovabilityChallenges@wazoku.com
Explain your proposal clearly in English, attach documents (max 5 files, 25MB total size) if needed.
This is a Theoretical Challenge, which requires only a written proposal to be submitted. The Challenge award will be contingent upon theoretical evaluation of the submission by the Seeker.
To receive an award, the Solvers will not have to transfer the exclusive IP rights to the Seeker. Instead, Solver will grant to the Seeker a non-exclusive license to practice their solutions.
The final award for this Challenge is contingent upon satisfactory completion of the verification process, including acceptance of the Challenge-Specific Agreement (CSA) that is the regulation for this Challenge. The verification process includes obtaining the following from the Solver: signed affidavit (based on the CSA), employee waiver (if applicable), proof of identify, and Counterparty Analysis Questionnaire (CAQ).
Submissions to this Challenge must be received by 11:59 PM (Central European Time) on June 17, 2022.
Late submissions will not be considered.
After the Challenge deadline, the Seeker will complete the review process and make a decision with regards to the Winning Solution(s). All Solvers that submit a proposal will be notified on the status of their submissions.
ABOUT THE SEEKER
Enel is a multinational energy company and one of the world’s leading integrated electricity and gas operators. Enel works in more than 30 countries across five continents, generating energy with a total installed capacity of more than 89 GW, selling gas and distributing electricity across a network spanning approximately 2.2 million km.
With almost 75 million end users around the world, Enel has the biggest customer base among our European competitors, and we are one of Europe’s leading energy companies by installed capacity.
The Enel Group is made up of approximately 66,000 people from around the world who are working together on the same goal. We are Open Power and our aim is to overcome some of the greatest challenges facing the world. This is to be achieved through a new approach which combines attention to sustainability with the best in innovation.
Enel is dedicated to creating innovative solutions that meet society’s changing needs. Through its openinnovability.com crowdsourcing platform, the company connects people and ideas from across the world, encouraging anyone to propose sustainable innovation projects and solutions that help develop local communities.
Enel is also committed to helping to achieve 4 of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):
- 7 - Access to affordable and clean energy
- 9 - Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
- 11- Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable
- 13 - The fight against climate change
Enel Green Power is the Enel Group brand focused on developing and managing renewable energy generation systems, with a global presence in 27 countries in Europe, the Americas, Asia, Africa and Oceania. Enel Green Power is a global leader in the green energy sector, operating more than 1,200 plants with a managed capacity of 54 GW across a generation mix which includes wind, solar, geothermal and hydropower, and is at the forefront of integrating innovative technologies into renewable power plants. Enel Green Power is a strategic partner that enables communities, companies and end users to move towards sustainable living, driving the shift towards a decarbonized society and actively contributing to the development and wellbeing of the many geographical areas where it operates.
Enel Green Power applies the CSV (Creating Shared Value) Model, finding new business opportunities by solving social problems, combining competitiveness with the long-term sustainable value creation. Thanks to its research, technological innovation, internationally renowned operational excellence, and the hard work of its people, Enel Green Power looks to the future fully aware of its potential for growth, both in terms of additional capacity and operational performance.
Enel Green Power invests in new technologies to improve its flexibility and performance, such as the combination of technologies and sources in the same plant (hybridization), the integration between renewables with other sectors (agrivoltaics, green building, new materials etc.) and research to give plants’ components a new role once they reach the end-of-life stage. All these projects are conducted under the lens of Sustainability and Circular Economy.
With its international experience, Enel Green Power also develops custom projects to offer companies the best solutions when it comes to energy generated from renewable sources. Clean energy and sustainable projects, competitive costs and tailor-made solutions are the main benefits of the Power Purchase Agreements (PPAs), tools that are capable of building strong, long-lasting partnerships with business and industrial clients. Enel Green Power is also one of the founding members of RES4Africa Foundation, the association founded in 2012 to promote renewable energies and the spread of know-how on the African continent.