Japan Gearing Up to Deal With Flood of Obsolete Solar Panels

Japanese firms are preparing for a rapid increase in the number of solar panels that reach the end of their lifespan in the coming years by exploring new ways to recycle them, according to an NHK News report.

A government feed-in tariff scheme led to a surge and sharp take-up of solar panels across Japan in recent years. The report estimates that in the region of 800,000 tons of the panels will reach the end of their working lives every year by the mid-2030s.

To date efficient clean and eco-friendly recycling technology is yet to be developed to process large quantities of solar panel waste at a reasonable cost, but Japanese trading conglomerate Marubeni in partnership with manufacturer Miraie is making progress on one such project.

The companies have developed a way to take the glass from solar panels and turn it into a deodorizing device for livestock farmers. They start by crushing the glass, then they bake it again with tiny holes in the surface that can hold odor-fighting microorganisms.

The companies say one of their devices uses up roughly 300 sheets of discarded glass.

Elsewhere, NHK reports that a subsidiary of Mitsubishi Chemical has recently opened a factory in southwestern Japan that can recycle about 90,000 solar panels a year. The company aims to keep waste down by achieving a recycling percentage of just over 80%.

#solar #pollution #renewables

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