Environmental aspects of electricity generation from a nanocrystalline dye sensitized solar cell system
A Life Cycle Assessment, LCA, of a nanocryst. dye sensitized solar cell (ncDSC) system has been performed, according to the ISO14040 std. In brief, LCA is a tool to analyze the total environmental impact of a product or system from cradle to grave. Six different weighing methods were used to rank and select the significant environmental aspects to study further. The most significant environmental aspects according to the weighing methods are emission of sulfur dioxide and carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide emission was selected as the environmental indicator depending on the growing attention on the global warming effect. In an environmental comparison of electricity generation from a ncDSC system and a natural gas/combined cycle power plant, the gas power plant would result in 450 g CO2/kWh and the ncDSC system in between 19-47 g CO2/kWh. The latter can be compared with 42 g CO2/kWh, according to van Brummelen et al. "Life Cycle Assessment of Roof Integrated Solar Cell Systems, (Report: Department of Science, Technol. and Society, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 1994)" for another thin film solar cell system made of amorphous silicon. The most significant activity/component contributing to environmental impact over the life cycle of the ncDSC system is the process energy for producing the solar cell module. Secondly comes the components; glass substrate, frame and junction box. The main improvement from an environmental point of view of the current technol. would be an increase in the conversion efficiency from solar radiation to electricity generation and still use low energy demanding. Prodn. technologies. Also the amt. of material in the solar cell system should be minimized and designed to maximize recycling.