Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …


a systemic approach to energy

Editor-in-Chief: Schlögl, Robert

Managing Editor: Tiedtke, Marion

Editorial Board: Luther, Joachim / Meng, Qingbo / Hüttl, Reinhard F. / Koumoto, Kunihito / Gasteiger, Hubert

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.248
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.421

More options …

Systematic Photovoltaic Waste Recycling

Wolfram Palitzsch / Ulrich Loser
Published Online: 2013-03-20 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/green-2013-0008


Indium, selenium, tellurium, gallium, molybdenum, cadmium and silicon are some of the major elements used in photovoltaic cells. Fully aware of the limited availability of these metals in future, recycling has been recognized as the most advisable end-of-life strategy to save these raw materials from turning into production wastes. On the other hand, statutory measures such as “Kreislaufwirtschaftsgesetz” (the German law encouraging closed-loop economy) aim to achieve a maximum quota of recycling and a minimum use of resources such as energy and raw materials. By the year of 2050, end-of-life photovoltaic panels are anticipated to amount to 9.57 million tons [1]. Although we are not there yet, discussions on recycling have already started. We have to prepare for higher waste volumes expected in the coming years. But already today we need to solve some environmental problems like loss of conventional resources (e.g., glass) and rare metals [2]. All of the known approaches for recycling photovoltaic semiconductor material seem economically and environmentally inefficient [3, 4]. In this paper, we report about reclaiming metals from scrap of thin film systems and associated photovoltaic manufacturing wastes like sandblasting dust and overspray. We also report one universal wet-chemical treatment for reclaiming the metals from CIS, CIGS or CdTe photovoltaic waste. Further, we discuss the application of our method to new PV systems, such as substrates other than glass (stainless steel, aluminum or plastic foil sheets) and alternative semiconductor alloys such as GaAs.

Keywords: photovoltaics; PV module recycling; resource availability

About the article

Wolfram Palitzsch

Dr. Wolfram Palitzsch was born in 1966 in Herrnhut, Germany. He is married with three children and resides in Freiberg/Saxony. Between 1988 and 1993 he studied chemistry at the TH Leuna-Merseburg. His diploma thesis dealt with organometallic compounds of the elements vanadium, niobium and tantalum. In 1998 he completed his PhD on the subject of novel transition metal-silicon compounds and graduated from the Technical University Bergakademie Freiberg. Between 1998 and 2000 he was a researcher at the Institute for Inorganic Chemistry at the University in Freiberg. Since 2000 he has worked as chief technology officer (CTO) at Loser Chemie GmbH. He is a member of the Institute for Technical Chemistry on the TU BA Freiberg and is actively involved in teaching.

Ulrich Loser

Ulrich Maria Loser was born in 1958 in Trier, Germany. He married his present wife, Mrs. Manuela Loser-Scholz, in 1998 and has a son. From 1973 to 1976, he attended courses in economics at the commercial private school Eberherd in Trier. He completed secondary school successfully with a secondary school certificate, leading to admission to the technical school. Due to his deep interest in economics and economic process, he furthered his knowledge by training as an industrial clerk in 1976 and graduated successfully after 2 years. He then began a degrees course in economics and worked at Mitsui in Dusseldorf. After graduating in 1980, he was employed at FS Karton Neuss for a period of 12 years. In 1992 he started to work as laboratory manager for a research project. Inspired by this, he moved to Sachtleben in Duisburg, where he worked as head of the Paper Division. In 1998 he founded Loser Chemie as an individual company, which became Loser Chemie GmbH by 2004. Today he is the owner and CEO of Loser Chemie GmbH with two production sites and 45 employees.

Loser Chemie GmbH, 08134 Langenweißbach, Germany

Received: 2013-01-28

Accepted: 2013-02-04

Published Online: 2013-03-20

Published in Print: 2013-03-15

Citation Information: Green, Volume 3, Issue 1, Pages 79–82, ISSN (Online) 1869-8778, ISSN (Print) 1869-876X, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/green-2013-0008.

Export Citation

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

Citing Articles

Here you can find all Crossref-listed publications in which this article is cited. If you would like to receive automatic email messages as soon as this article is cited in other publications, simply activate the “Citation Alert” on the top of this page.

Anna M. K. Gustafsson, Fredrik Björefors, Britt-Marie Steenari, and Christian Ekberg
The Scientific World Journal, 2015, Volume 2015, Page 1
Anna M.K. Gustafsson, Britt-Marie Steenari, and Christian Ekberg
Separation Science and Technology, 2015, Page 150615133833000
Jing Tao and Suiran Yu
Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, 2015, Volume 141, Page 108
Anna M.K. Gustafsson, Mark R.StJ. Foreman, and Christian Ekberg
Waste Management, 2014, Volume 34, Number 10, Page 1775

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in