Internship | Materials and interfaces study for the recycling of solar panels
About this position
The topic is recycling of photovoltaic (PV) modules. A PV module is a stack made up of the PV material (as well as metallisation, connections etc), encapsulated with polymer or glass sheets on both sides. Since PV modules contain both valuable and toxic elements, developing efficient recycling processes is becoming absolutely essential in a context where the installed PV capacity is exponentially increasing and a very large amount of PV modules will reach their end of life in the very near future. In this context, we are looking into ways in which the module can be opened up and the valuable PV material accessed, in a clean and cost-efficient way, to facilitate the next recycling steps. The main goal is to study the key parameters (e.g. chemical composition of encapsulant, surface properties, etc) affecting the adhesion between the encapsulated layers (frontsheet or backsheet) and the PV layers.
What will be your role?
The details of the assignment can be tailored to the student to some extent, but the activities will include extensive characterisation of materials and interfaces (e.g., SEM/EDS, optical microscopy, mechanical testing, DSC, TGA, etc), analysing the data, formulating hypotheses and designing new experiments to test them.
The work is divided between hands-on experiments and data analysis/interpretation. The ratio between experiments and analysis can be tuned, to some extent, to the candidate’s abilities/preferences.
The research will take place at TNO Solliance on the High Tech Campus in Eindhoven.
What we expect from you
- A background in physics, chemistry or material science
- Interest in renewable energy
- High motivation, with a curious nature and a taste for problem-solving
- Good hands-on skills
- Some practical understanding of thermodynamics
- Good communication skills, to exchange with the team, present your results weekly, and gather the information needed to tackle specific challenges
- The duration of this project should be minimum six months, preferably in the MSc phase of your study
- You need to be affiliated with a university during the internship for eligibility
What you'll get in return
You want to work on the precursor of your career; a work placement gives you an opportunity to take a good look at your prospective future employer. TNO goes a step further. It’s not just looking that interests us; you and your knowledge are essential to our innovation. That’s why we attach a great deal of value to your personal and professional development. You will, of course, be properly supervised during your work placement and be given the scope for you to get the best out of yourself. Naturally, we provide suitable work placement compensation.
TNO as an employer
At TNO, we innovate for a healthier, safer and more sustainable life. And for a strong economy. Since 1932, we have been making knowledge and technology available for the common good. We find each other in wonder and ingenuity. We are driven to push boundaries. There is all the space and support for your talent and ambition. You work with people who will challenge you: who inspire you and want to learn from you. Our state-of-the-art facilities are there to realize your vision. What you do at TNO matters: impact makes the difference. Because with every innovation you contribute to tomorrow’s world. Read more about TNO as an employer.
At TNO we encourage an inclusive work environment, where you can be yourself. Whatever your story and whatever unique qualities you bring to the table. It is by combining our unique strengths and perspectives that we are able to develop innovations that make a real difference in society. Want to know more? Read what steps we are taking in the area of diversity and inclusion.
The selection process
After the first CV selection, the application process will be conducted by the concerning department. TNO will provide a suitable internship agreement. If you have any questions about this vacancy, you can contact the contact person mentioned below.
Has this job opening sparked your interest?
Then we’d like to hear from you! Please contact us for more information about the job or the selection process. To apply, please upload your CV and covering letter using the ‘apply now’ button.