publication . Article . 2007

CdTe Photovoltaics: Life-cycle environmental profile and comparisons

Vasilis Fthenakis; Hyung Chul Kim;
Open Access
  • Published: 01 May 2007
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 ot...
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free text keywords: Materials Chemistry, Metals and Alloys, Surfaces, Coatings and Films, Surfaces and Interfaces, Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials, Fossil fuel, business.industry, business, Mineralogy, Photovoltaics, Life-cycle assessment, Raw material, Process engineering, Pollutant, Refining (metallurgy), Cadmium telluride photovoltaics, Silicon, chemistry.chemical_element, chemistry
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