Insights into circular material and waste flows from c-Si PV industry
Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems ISE, Heidenhofstr. 2, 79110
Freiburg i. Br., Germany
2 Bifa Umweltinstitut GmbH, Mittleren Moos 46, 86167 Augsburg, Germany
3 Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics IBP, Nobelstraße 12, 70569 Stuttgart, Germany
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Received in final form: 28 October 2022
Accepted: 21 November 2022
Published online: 27 January 2023
A material flow model for the production of Bifacial Selective Emitter 60-cell p-type Cz PERC (Passivated Emitter and Rear Contacted) glass-backsheet modules with aluminium frame was built. The selected module represents mature technologies in the PV industry and their manufacturing is considered to take place in China in a production cluster with an annual module capacity of 5 GWp. In a first step, data acquisition and validation for wafer, cell and module fabs took place. The data were used to generate the reference system lifecycle inventories (LCI) and extended waste databases for the reference wafers, cells and modules. A set of potential circularity actions, such as the vertical integration of the operations and waste revalorisation strategies, had been proposed and their environmental performance and cost assessed by means of a life cycle assessment (LCA) and a total cost of ownership (TCO). Our results show that 87% of the waste can be reduced and revalorised, this represents a circular flow of raw materials of 18,756 Mg per year from a 5GWp PV module production cluster. Environmental impact reductions of 0.6–2.3% are estimated for different impact categories. We also estimate a cost reduction potential of 2.59% from total module costs.
Key words: Photovoltaics / revalorized wastecircular production / life cycle assessment / total cost of ownership
© P. Brailovsky et al., Published by EDP Sciences, 2023
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