Hello, my name is Martin Späth and I am born in the small town of Konstanz Germany since that the world is my home. Presently I am a Senior Consultant and project manager for PV technology at TNO managing national and EU oriented projects in the field of PV Circularity. PILATUS is for me a very interesting project to attend as it is Industry related and supporting the European Solar Initiative to bring PV production back to the EU.
What was your original motivation to become a researcher/project manager?
My motivation for renewable energy started early during student time in the mid 1980’s. Next to wild ideas and nuclear power there was nothing useful regarding renewable energy. It was my early intention to change that situation by a more scientific approach and in parallel with a renewable energy grass root movement.
What is your (main) research area today?
I am working on PV panel circularity. Design for recycling research is a main topic which addresses easy to dismantle PV panels and re-use of the components by applying a release encapsulant. Novel non-chemical recycling technology to retrieve high grade silicon and contact silver from end of life solar cells is a research area of my interest.
What is the main focus of your team in PILATUS?
Evaluation of Resource Availability and Circularity by providing a list of all input materials to be compiled for LCA and ULIEGE will facilitate interaction with this data. Highly circular PV panel demonstration where TNO will compile a BOM for a panel made with recycled or bio-based materials. Designs for recycling to access the active layers for circular use. TNO will work with a release encapsulant developed in other projects, which allows the separation of these modules into single components.
From all your activities within the project, what are you the most proud of/keen to share with the public?
Applying a release encapsulant to Hetero Junction cells where the encapsulant is tuned to polymerize at low temperature.
How do you expect the PILATUS results will impact your organisation and the PV sector in Europe?
There is already a big interest in design for recycling applications. The technology will support the European Solar Manufacturing Initiative. We see growth due to demand in knowhow regarding circular products and biobased materials.