Journal article Open Access

CdTe Photovoltaics: Life-cycle environmental profile and comparisons

Fthenakis, Vasilis M.; Kim, Hyung Chul

We discuss the emissions of cadmium throughout all the life stages of CdTe PV modules, from extracting, refining, and purifying the raw materials to producing, using, and disposing or recycling of the modules. Then, we compare these emissions with those in the life cycle of three different types of crystalline Si PV modules. The energy requirement and energy pay back times (EPBT) of CdTe PV modules are considerably shorter than that of crystalline Si modules, although the latter exhibit higher efficiencies. This difference is primarily due to the energy used to process silicon, a fraction of which is derived from fossil fuels, inevitably producing Cd and many other heavy-metal emissions. The lower energy requirement of CdTe PV results in lower emissions of all pollutants, including cadmium.
Files (131.7 kB)
Name Size
article.pdf
md5:de6aaef5d4be2dc6d07806df5f6c0b70
131.7 kB Download
154
129
views
downloads
Views 154
Downloads 129
Data volume 17.0 MB
Unique views 146
Unique downloads 126

Share

Cite as