Belgian materials company Umicore has signed a contract with Australia headquartered Vulcan Energy Resources to purchase up to 42,000 tons of lithium hydroxide over a five year period beginning in 2025. The material will be used in Umicore’s production of cathode materials for lithium-ion cell manufacturers.
Australia has certainly demonstrated its appetite for solar power. Now, with the average lifespan of a solar panel being approximately 20 years, many installations from the early 2000’s are set to reach end-of-life. Will they end up in landfill or be recycled? The cost of recycling is higher than landfill, and the value of recovered materials is smaller than the original, so there’s limited interest in recycling. But given the presence of heavy metals, such as lead and tin, if waste is managed poorly, we’re on track for another recycling crisis. A potential time bomb could present itself as an opportunity, however, if the global EV industry showed an interest in the recovered solar products.
Researchers led by Belgian institute imec claim to have achieved the result with a 1cm² flexible thin-film cell intended for building-integrated PV application. The result tops the 24.6% efficiency the consortium announced in September 2018. The cell’s developers are now aiming for 30%.
With its app already present in Belgium and the Netherlands, start-up Jedlix is introducing smart charging in France. The solution enables Tesla drivers to optimize their charging strategy.
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