The development of solar technologies requires increased efficiency in converting solar radiation to energy, as well as innovative materials and structure to go beyond the conventional power conversion ratio. In line with these innovations, there are concerns about greenhouse gas emissions of the solar cells, materials for the solar technologies and other relevant environmental impacts of the manufacturing processes. This review is conducted on life cycle assessments of solar cells, considering the climate change and natural resource shortage context. It is identified that the majority of existing life cycle assessments on solar cells take into account four typical environmental impacts: energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, material depletion, and toxicity. Though the diverse methodological aspects make it difficult to directly compare these environmental impacts among various types of solar cells, the obtained results hinder that emerging solar cells such as perovskite solar cells or tandem solar cells are likely to have better environmental profiles than conventional silicon based and thin film solar cells, in terms of energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and material consumption. However, the emerging solar cells may utilize toxic materials in which their eco-toxicity and human toxicity should be further considered during the design of the technologies. Moreover, it is identified that the energy and environmental hotspot lies in the manufacturing process, regardless of impact indicators and types of solar cells.

Cellura M., Luu L.Q., Guarino F., Longo S. (2024). A review on life cycle environmental impacts of emerging solar cells [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.168019].

A review on life cycle environmental impacts of emerging solar cells

Cellura M.;Luu L. Q.
;
Guarino F.;Longo S.
2024-01-15

Abstract

The development of solar technologies requires increased efficiency in converting solar radiation to energy, as well as innovative materials and structure to go beyond the conventional power conversion ratio. In line with these innovations, there are concerns about greenhouse gas emissions of the solar cells, materials for the solar technologies and other relevant environmental impacts of the manufacturing processes. This review is conducted on life cycle assessments of solar cells, considering the climate change and natural resource shortage context. It is identified that the majority of existing life cycle assessments on solar cells take into account four typical environmental impacts: energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, material depletion, and toxicity. Though the diverse methodological aspects make it difficult to directly compare these environmental impacts among various types of solar cells, the obtained results hinder that emerging solar cells such as perovskite solar cells or tandem solar cells are likely to have better environmental profiles than conventional silicon based and thin film solar cells, in terms of energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions and material consumption. However, the emerging solar cells may utilize toxic materials in which their eco-toxicity and human toxicity should be further considered during the design of the technologies. Moreover, it is identified that the energy and environmental hotspot lies in the manufacturing process, regardless of impact indicators and types of solar cells.
15-gen-2024
Settore ING-IND/11 - Fisica Tecnica Ambientale
Cellura M., Luu L.Q., Guarino F., Longo S. (2024). A review on life cycle environmental impacts of emerging solar cells [10.1016/j.scitotenv.2023.168019].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/10447/618603
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