CIES researchers receive federal funding for innovative recycling solutions to PV e-waste.

Associate Professor Ailar HajimohammadiCIES researchers working with industry to fast-track new recycling solutions have been awarded $3 million in the latest round of the Federal Government’s Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) funding.

The CRC-P Program links researchers with industry to develop products with commercial uses. Round 15 was open to all industry sectors with a focus on supporting projects in line with Federal Government priorities, including the National Reconstruction Fund (NRF) priority areas and the circular economy.

Tackling the surge of solar panel e-waste

CIES Researchers Associate Professor Ailar Hajimohammadi and Associate Professor Mohsen Kalantari from Civil & Environmental Engineering together with Professor Ziv Hameiri from UNSW Photovoltaic and Renewable Energy Engineering and their industry partners received $3 million to work on the rising challenge of recycling solar panel e-waste.

In Australia, over 100 million solar panels have been installed, the highest per-capita uptake in the world. However, the surge of resulting e-waste presents a challenge, as the stated 25-year lifespan of solar panels can be shortened by various faults and defects that are hard and costly to detect manually. Globally however, there is as yet no efficient method to determine when photovoltaic (PV) modules will reach their end of life or how they should be recycled or reused.

In collaboration with leading partner solar panel recycling company PV Industries, as well as e-waste recycling company ReSource and renewable energy developer Spark Renewables, UNSW Engineering researchers will develop a large-scale solar panel evaluation and recycling process - from decommissioning to end-markets - using machine learning.

Associate Professor Mohsen Kalantari“PV Industries is elevating recycling processes for solar panels to align with the needs of high-value end-markets,” A/Prof Hajimohammadi said. “This project entails two key initiatives stemming from research: the commercialisation of a machine learning-driven solar panel image analysis software platform and the optimisation of recycling processes for solar panel material components.”

“By integrating these advancements with ongoing research, PV Industries leads the way in driving innovation within the solar energy sector. This strategic synergy not only fosters environmental stewardship but also underscores a collaborative partnership driving sustainable advances."


Find out more: 

CRC Projects selection round outcomes |

UNSW projects to receive over $11m in funding

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