Nano-Silicon From Solar Panels For Lithium-Ion Batteries

Deakin University Scientists Successfully Extract Silicon From Old Solar Panels To Develop New Battery Anode For Energy Storage Industry

Nano-Silicon From Solar Panels For Lithium-Ion Batteries

Silicon recycled from used solar panels can successfully lead to make batteries, says Deakin University research team. (Photo Credit: Deakin University)

  • More than 3 years after discovering a new method for extracting silicon from used panels to make nano silicon batteries, Deakin University has now successfully done it
  • They claim silicon is extracted using a non-toxic method to make nano-silicon worth $45,000/kilo
  • Team is now in talks with the industry to scale up this process that extracts silicon within a day and without the need for dangerous chemicals

Scientists from Deakin University of Australia have successfully tested a new, non-toxic process to safely and effectively extract silicon from solar panels reaching their end-of-life, then using this nano-silicon worth $45,000/kilo with graphite to develop a new type of battery anode that they claim increases lithium-ion battery capacity by a factor of 10.

The team had discovered the method back in October 2019, but more than 3 years later they have now successfully deployed the process to make nano-silicon batteries. It is now in discussions with industry to scale up the process (see Reusing Silicon From Waste Modules For Batteries).

Lead researcher Dr Md Mokhlesur Rahman explained, “We have developed a process that returns silicon collected from used cells to greater than 99% purity, within a day and without the need for dangerous chemicals. This thermal and chemical process is far greener, cheaper, and more efficient than any other technique currently on the market.”

The Deakin process, using a special, non-toxic ball-milling method developed by the University’s Institute for Frontier Materials (IFM), converts regular-sized extracted silicon reducing it to nano scale. This nano-silicon is worth more than $45,000/kilo as opposed to about $650/kilo that regular silicon costs, according to the team.

Nano-silicon finds its use in the development of nano-fertilizers, innovative new methods for carbon capture, and on-demand hydrogen gas generation, along with being used for new battery materials.

“Silicon recovered from end-of-life solar panels can be a massive, sustainable source of nano-silicon to meet future demand for raw battery materials, helping to power the homes, transport and communities of the future,” added Director of the ARC Research Hub for Safe and Reliable Energy, based at IFM, Professor Ying (Ian) Chen.

Australia is looking at more than 100,000 tons of end-of-life solar panels to enter its waste-stream by 2035. Globally, the team claims this technique can generate $15 billion in material recovery if extrapolated to the 78 million tons of solar panel waste expected to be generated globally by 2050.

About The Author

Anu Bhambhani

SENIOR NEWS EDITOR Anu is our solar news whirlwind. At TaiyangNews, she covers everything that is of importance in the world of solar power. In the past 9 years that she has been associated with TaiyangNews, she has covered over thousands of stories, and analysis pieces on markets, technology, financials, and more on a daily basis. She also hosts TaiyangNews Conferences and Webinars. Prior to joining TaiyangNews, Anu reported on sustainability, management, and education for leading print dailies in India. [email protected]

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