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Recycling of high purity selenium from CIGS solar cell waste materials

Authors
  • Gustafsson, Anna M.K.
  • Foreman, Mark R.StJ.
  • Ekberg, Christian1, 2
  • 1 Industrial Materials Recycling
  • 2 Chalmers University of Technology
Type
Published Article
Journal
Waste Management
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2014
Accepted Date
Dec 29, 2013
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/j.wasman.2013.12.021
Source
Elsevier
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) is a promising material in thin film solar cell production. To make CIGS solar cells more competitive, both economically and environmentally, in comparison to other energy sources, methods for recycling are needed. In addition to the generally high price of the material, significant amounts of the metals are lost in the manufacturing process. The feasibility of recycling selenium from CIGS through oxidation at elevated temperatures was therefore examined. During oxidation gaseous selenium dioxide was formed and could be separated from the other elements, which remained in solid state. Upon cooling, the selenium dioxide sublimes and can be collected as crystals. After oxidation for 1h at 800°C all of the selenium was separated from the CIGS material. Two different reduction methods for reduction of the selenium dioxide to selenium were tested. In the first reduction method an organic molecule was used as the reducing agent in a Riley reaction. In the second reduction method sulphur dioxide gas was used. Both methods resulted in high purity selenium. This proves that the studied selenium separation method could be the first step in a recycling process aimed at the complete separation and recovery of high purity elements from CIGS.

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