Insights into the encapsulation process of photovoltaic modules: GC-MS analysis on the curing step of Poly (ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) (EVA) encapsulant
Appropriate encapsulation schemes are essential in protecting the active components of the photovoltaic (PV) module against weathering and to ensure long term reliability. For crystalline cells, Poly (ethylene-co-vinyl acetate) (EVA) is the most commonly used PV encapsulant. Additives like peroxides and silanes are formulated in EVA encapsulants to obtain the desired properties, e.g. the desired gel content value and sufficient adhesion after the encapsulation process etc. The identification and control of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released by the polymeric encapsulant during PV module encapsulation is important for understanding and optimizing processes in order to enhance the encapsulation quality of the manufactured modules. Here we demonstrate how gas chromatography and mass spectrometry (GC-MS) techniques can be used to help understand the curing process, mainly by identifying the VOCs emanating from EVA under the effect of temperature and pressure. The results provide chemical insights into the EVA encapsulation process, which are valuable for further optimization of the PV module manufacturing process and evaluation on its environmental impact.