Silicon is the material of choice on the fast growing solar market because it converts solar energy into electric power in a relatively efficient manner. When producing silicon wafers, though, the photovoltaic industry loses about 50 percent of the valuable original material. The objective of the EU project SIKELOR is to process silicon waste in an industrially viable and a resource-friendly manner.
For the first time, SIKELOR will provide methods to recycle silicon kerf loss. The economic goal of the project is to demonstrate that the cumulative recycling costs will not exceed 10 $/kg. Given today’s market price of virgin silicon feedstock of about 18 $/kg, the low value of which is a consequence of subsidies and therefore can be expected to increase in the next years, recycling technologies will certainly increase the competitiveness of Europe’s photovoltaic industry.