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Recycling 2018, 3(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/recycling3020013

Benchmark Comparison of High Voltage Discharge Separation of Photovoltaic Modules by Electrohydraulic and Electrodynamic Fragmentation

1
Pforzheim University of Applied Sciences, School of Engineering, 75175 Pforzheim, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
2
ImpulsTec GmbH, 01129 Dresden, Sachsen, Germany
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 December 2017 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 9 April 2018 / Published: 10 April 2018
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Abstract

Recent years have seen an increasing interest in exploring alternative techniques to conventional grinding methods such as fragmentation by high voltage discharges. Although pulsed power has already been applied to break down complex composite materials, there is currently no systematic comparison between different types of discharge regimes such as electrohydraulic and electrodynamic fragmentation. The aim of this work is to present such a comparison based on the electrohydraulic and electrodynamic fragmentation of copper indium diselenide (CIS) photovoltaic modules for potential indium recovery. High voltage discharges are performed in a process vessel filled with demineralized water at ambient conditions. After fragmentation, individual fractions are weighed, milled and the indium content is determined by X-ray fluorescence (XRF). Both the electrohydraulic and the electrodynamic approach are suitable to efficiently separate thin-film photovoltaic composite material into its constituent layers. The separation result is not dependent on the voltage level, but only on the total pulse energy applied. Since the generation of discharges with higher voltages requires a higher investment into plant properties such as insulation and generator, a comminution at lower voltages, i.e., electrohydraulic fragmentation, is preferable to electrodynamic fragmentation at higher voltages. To reveal the specific strengths of the two processes compared here, further comparative work with different composite materials is required. View Full-Text
Keywords: pulsed power; high voltage discharge; fragmentation; electrohydraulic; electrodynamic; comparison; benchmark; thin-film photovoltaic; CIS; indium recovery pulsed power; high voltage discharge; fragmentation; electrohydraulic; electrodynamic; comparison; benchmark; thin-film photovoltaic; CIS; indium recovery
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Pestalozzi, F.; Eisert, S.; Woidasky, J. Benchmark Comparison of High Voltage Discharge Separation of Photovoltaic Modules by Electrohydraulic and Electrodynamic Fragmentation. Recycling 2018, 3, 13.

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