Glass recycler Maltha of Belgium expects to process large quantities of used solar panels in the coming years. The Renewi subsidiary is running test production on a small scale and anticipates it will be fully automated in the near future.
Maltha currently processes 170 000 tonnes of flat glass per year and is looking to ramp that up to 230 000 tonnes. ‘We want to achieve this by recycling a large amount of glass from solar panels,’ plant manager Wim Merket tells Belgian broadcaster VRT. ‘We expect large supplies because the first generation of solar panels is now at the end of its lifespan and will gradually be replaced.’
100 000 tonnes by 2025
In Europe, some 13 000 tonnes of solar panels are currently discarded every year. This is expected to be around 100 000 tonnes by 2025 and soar to 1.7 million tonnes by 2030.