Recycling of high purity selenium from CIGS solar cell waste materials
Journal article, 2014

Copper indium gallium diselenide (CIGS) is a promising material in thin film solar cell production. To make CIGS solar cells more competitive, both economically and environmentally, in comparison to other energy sources, methods for recycling are needed. In addition to the generally high price of the material, significant amounts of the metals are lost in the manufacturing process. The feasibility of recycling selenium from CIGS through oxidation at elevated temperatures was therefore examined. During oxidation gaseous selenium dioxide was formed and could be separated from the other elements, which remained in solid state. Upon cooling, the selenium dioxide sublimes and can be collected as crystals. After oxidation for 1 h at 800 C all of the selenium was separated from the CIGS material. Two different reduction methods for reduction of the selenium dioxide to selenium were tested. In the first reduction method an organic molecule was used as the reducing agent in a Riley reaction. In the second reduction method sulphur dioxide gas was used. Both methods resulted in high purity selenium. This proves that the studied selenium separation method could be the first step in a recycling process aimed at the complete separation and recovery of high purity elements from CIGS.

Solar cells







Anna Gustafsson

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Industrial Materials Recycling

Mark Foreman

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Nuclear Chemistry

Christian Ekberg

Chalmers, Chemical and Biological Engineering, Industrial Materials Recycling

Waste Management

0956-053X (ISSN)

Vol. 34 10 1775-1782

Subject Categories

Inorganic Chemistry

Chemical Sciences

Driving Forces

Sustainable development

Areas of Advance


Materials Science



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