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Holistic recycling of PV modules.

In 2022, the global capacity generated by photovoltaics exceeded the 1,000 GW mark. This success clearly shows the development that can still be expected from PV technologies in the future. In Austria, the installed capacity already exceeded 2 GW in 2020 and continues to experience high growth rates. The amount of end-of-life (EoL) PV modules is still relatively small, but we should prepare for an increase in return rates in the coming years. What to do with end-of-life solar panels? How can they be recycled and – their components – sensibly reused?

The research project PVReValue is dedicated to these and related issues. Based on existing research results, the aim is to generate the scientific and technical foundations for a complete processing and recycling process for PV modules. In order to develop a holistic process to achieve a recycling rate of more than 95% by weight, the following steps are considered:

  1. Input characterization
  2. Compound separation
  3. Further processing
  4. Output characterization
  5. Recycling of the output fractions


On the one hand, the innovation content is the multi-stage separation process, which causes a pre-fractionation of the fractions to be further processed; on the other hand, in the complex combination of further processing methods for the recovered fractions. The high quality of the process starts with the input characterization, whereby modules can be selectively charged and output qualities can be modeled and adjusted accordingly. The research project PVReValue thus generates high-quality recyclable secondary raw materials in the sense of a functioning circular economy.

Funding: FFG / Kreislaufwirtschaft 2. Ausschreibung


Project consortium:

  • Lead: Montanuniversität Leoben / Lehrstuhl für Abfallverwertungstechnik und Abfallwirtschaft (AVAW)
  • OFI Österreichisches Forschungsinstitut für Chemie und Technik
  • Circulyzer GmbH
  • KIOTO Photovoltaics GmbH
  • MGG Polymers GmbH
  • Perndorfer Maschinenbau KG
  • Peter Seppele Gesellschaft m.b.H.
  • Polymer Competence Center Leoben GmbH
  • Silicon Austria Labs GmbH
  • Solar-Ernte Photovoltaik GmbH
  • Technische Universität Wien / Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Photonische Technologien


Download Poster (PDF) for detailed information

Sustainability Goals

Responsible Consumption and Producttion
Photovoltaik-Modul Nahaufnahme
OFI is researching how to recycle discarded PV modules. Subject image: Valentin_Photography

Project duration

- 2025


Dr. Gabriele Eder


OFI Expert for Material Analysis

Dr. Gabriele Eder
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