VRX Silica Limited (ASX: VRX) has announced a new partnership agreement with the School of Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering (SPREE) of the University of New South Wales (UNSW), on a strategic research project investigating the market potential for a local, low carbon, solar panel glass recycling program in Australia.
- New Research to Investigate Market Opportunities for Recycling End-of-Life Solar Panel Glass in Australia
- Collaboration agreement with the University of New South Wales
- Project funded through the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics
The pilot phase of this work received funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA), carried out through the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) at UNSW. ACAP is now able to take this work to its next phase with the support of a highly credentialed industry partner specialising in the sustainability of the material critical to solar panel production – silica sand, which is becoming increasingly scarce.
To advance the sector’s sustainability, the project will perform a techno-economic analysis of a proposed closed-loop photovoltaic (PV) glass industry in Australia, built on recycling the glass component of solar panels once they reach their endof-life. A necessary condition for this industry will be the recreation of a local, low-iron, flat glass manufacturing industry, where solar panel cover glass could be returned as cullet–crushed glass.
Specifically, the agreement aims to support modelling of possible low-iron glass recycling and manufacturing pathways in Australia, with activities potentially located near the Company’s Muchea Silica Sand Project in Western Australia.
VRX Managing Director Bruce Maluish said:
“VRX is pleased to collaborate with the University of New South Wales and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency in this initiative to investigate the potential recycling of components of solar panels.
“This part of the life cycle of a solar panel is insufficiently studied but is increasingly required to complete the cycle for the use of solar panels.”
Dr Richard Corkish, Chief Operating Officer of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics, said:
“We at the UNSW node of ACAP are delighted to be partnering with VRX to build on our existing, ARENA-backed work exploring the opportunities for maximising the value of end-oflife solar panel glass. This work will also help reduce future waste volumes and to extend the life of reserves of low-iron silica sand.”