Dust Hazards And Safety Measures Related To Photovoltaic Panel Recycling
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As a result of the recent rapid diffusion of solar photovoltaic (PV) panels for electric generation, there is a relatively low experience of the potential hazards associated with their decommissioning operations. By this work we investigate the hazards associated with a recently developed physical process for recycling of PV panels, in order to lay the foundations for a systematic risk assessment procedure. We analyze the typical properties of the dust which is produced by the different PV panels recycling processes. We then investigate how this dust is transported by ventilation. In doing so, we use the results of a series of studies on the transport of heavy particles through a ventilated space, which were published recently. We quantify the fraction of particles of a mean diameter D<0.1 mm which are vented from the space as opposed to the fraction which sediment within the space. We also investigate how the concentration of the suspension of particles in air changes when the ventilation rate is changed. This will allow assessing the behavior of toxic dust and identifying the most appropriate safety measures, which may range from housekeeping to industrial ventilation. By the present work, we provide information on the recycling process and on the hazardous materials handled within it; we describe the transport of dust and particles in air and identify the potential scenarios in which the safety of operators is compromised; finally, we define a range of safety measures.