Material flow analysis of the end-of-life photovoltaic waste in Australia

Sajjad Mahmoudi, Nazmul Huda, Zahraossadat Alavi, Masud Behnia

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


The photovoltaic module capacity has been growing remarkably in Australia from only 0.777 MW in 2001 to 8000 MW in 2018. The main reasons behind this evolution is, consumer awareness about the PV panels’ reliability and durability, overall environmental benefits, and government encouragement by providing reasonable tariffs. The useful lifetime of PV modules is around 30 years; after which they are converted to waste. As a result, a huge amount of outdated photovoltaic modules will be discarded and consigned to the waste stream in the near future in Australia. This paper analyses the potential emerging PV waste flow that will be generated between 2031 and 2047 in Australia and highlights the proportion of the waste in terms of the types of materials. It is predicted that the cumulative PV waste will reach around 1 million tonnes. The main components of the waste are 554 kilotonnes (kt) of Glass, followed by 124 kilotonnes of Aluminum. PV wastes are classified into different groups based on their characteristics, and the analysis results show that the future PV waste will contain about 344 tonnes of the precious metals like Ag, 63 tonnes of hazardous types of metals like Cd, Pb and Se, as well as the 4103 tonnes of other the critical substances. Finally, this paper sheds more valuable insights into the management pathway of this complex waste from different perspectives such as policy and regulation, recycling and reverse logistics supply chain.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2018 International Conference on Energy, Ecology and Environment (ICEEE 2018)
Place of PublicationPennsylvania
PublisherDEStech Publications Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781605955902
Publication statusPublished - 2018
Event2018 International Conference on Energy, Ecology and Environment - Melbourne, Australia
Duration: 21 Nov 201825 Nov 2018

Publication series

ISSN (Electronic)2475-8833


Conference2018 International Conference on Energy, Ecology and Environment
Abbreviated titleICEEE 2018


  • Material flow analysis
  • PV waste flow
  • End-of-Life photovoltaic modules


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