Recovery of valuable and toxic metals from crystalline-Si modules

Wen Hsi Huang, Woo Jung Shin, Laidong Wang, Meng Tao

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

11 Scopus citations


Valuable and toxic metals including Ag, Pb, Sn and Cu can be recovered from end-of-life Si solar modules. This study presents the recovery of Ag, Pb, Sn and Cu from a simulated leach solution of crystalline-Si modules. 11.4% HNO3 is used as the leach solution. Ag, Pb, Sn and Cu pellets are dissolved in the solution to simulate the metals from front contacts and soldered wires in Si modules. Sn precipitates in the solution as SnO2, which can be separated by filtration or sedimentation. Voltammetry reveals the reduction potentials for Ag and Cu. It is demonstrated that 3-electrode sequential electrowinning can extract Ag and Cu one by one from the solution. The recovery rates of Ag and Cu are 74% and 83%, respectively. Toxic Pb is deposited on the anode as PbO2 during Cu recovery. The purity of the extracted metals is above 99%.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publication2016 IEEE 43rd Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781509027248
StatePublished - Nov 18 2016
Event43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016 - Portland, United States
Duration: Jun 5 2016Jun 10 2016

Publication series

NameConference Record of the IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference
ISSN (Print)0160-8371


Other43rd IEEE Photovoltaic Specialists Conference, PVSC 2016
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • crystalline-Si solar cells
  • electrowinning
  • end-of-life Si solar cells
  • recycling
  • voltammetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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