Life cycle assessment of recycling strategies for perovskite photovoltaic modules
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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Tian, X., Stranks, S., & You, F. (2021). Life cycle assessment of recycling strategies for perovskite photovoltaic modules. Nature Sustainability, 4 (9), 821-829. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00737-z
Effectively recycling spent perovskite solar modules will further reduce the energy inputs and environmental consequences induced by their production and deployment, thus facilitating their sustainable development. Here, through “cradle-to-grave” life cycle assessments on a variety of perovskite solar cell architectures, we report that the substrates with conducting oxide and energy-intensive heating processes are the largest contributors to the primary energy consumption, global warming potential, and other impact categories. We thus focus on these materials and processes when expanding to “cradle-to-cradle” analyses with recycling as the end-of-life scenario. Our results reveal that recycling strategies can lead to up to 72.6% shorter energy payback time and 71.2% reduction in greenhouse gas emission factor. We highlight that the best recycled module architecture can exhibit an extremely small energy payback time of 0.09 years and greenhouse gas emission factor as low as 13.4 g CO2-eq/kWh, such that it outcompetes all other rivals including the market-leading silicon at 1.3 - 2.4 years and 22.1 - 38.1 g CO2-eq/kWh. Finally, we use sensitivity analyses to highlight the importance of prolonging the device lifetime and quantify the impacts of uncertainty induced by the still immature manufacturing processes, changing operating conditions, and individual differences for each module.
This work is supported in part by National Science Foundation (NSF) CAREER Award (CBET-1643244). S.D.S. acknowledges support from the Royal Society and Tata Group (UF150033).
Royal Society (UF150033)
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41893-021-00737-z
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/324309
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