The cutting-edge research at the U.S. DOE's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) will one day go to waste – but not into a landfill.
Wayne Hicks, Public affairs specialist, National Renewable Energy Laboratory04.24.19
Every technology eventually runs into the end of its life. Photovoltaic (PV) panels and lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries become less effective and need to be replaced. Researchers at NREL are making strides toward ensuring old technology can be more easily recycled.
"We're thinking about this broadly across many technologies, but PV is the one we've been thinking about the longest at the lab," said Garvin Heath, a senior scientist and member of the Resources and Sustainability Group in NREL's Strategic Energy Analysis Center.
While hundreds of millions of tons of trash continue to be dumped into American landfills annually, a growing percentage has been diverted to recycling centers since the first Earth Day in 1970. But these centers aren't set up for renewable energy technologies. NREL is looking to answer questions such as: "What methods should be used to recycle materials from PV panels and batteries used to power electric vehicl
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