Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/34975
Title: Review on life cycle assessment of energy payback and greenhouse gas emission of solar photovoltaic systems
Authors: Peng, J
Lu, L 
Yang, H 
Keywords: Photovoltaic system
Life cycle assessment
Energy payback time
GHG emission rate
Energy requirement
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Elsevier
Source: Renewable and sustainable energy reviews, 2013, v. 19, p. 255-274 How to cite?
Journal: Renewable and sustainable energy reviews
Abstract: This paper aims to examine the sustainability and environmental performance of PV-based electricity generation systems by conducting a thorough review of the life cycle assessment (LCA) studies of five common photovoltaic (PV) systems, i.e., mono-crystalline (mono-Si), multi-crystalline (multi-Si), amorphous silicon (a-Si), CdTe thin film (CdTe) and CIS thin film (CIS), and some advanced PV systems. The results show that, among the five common PV systems, the CdTe PV system presents the best environmental performance in terms of energy payback time (EPBT) and greenhouse gases (GHG) emission rate due to its low life-cycle energy requirement and relatively high conversion efficiency. Meanwhile, the mono-Si PV system demonstrates the worst because of its high energy intensity during the solar cells’ production process. The EPBT and GHG emission rate of thin film PV systems are within the range of 0.75–3.5 years and 10.5–50 g CO2-eq./kW h, respectively. In general, the EPBT of mono-Si PV systems range from 1.7 to 2.7 years with GHG emission rate from 29 to 45 g CO2-eq./kW h, which is an order of magnitude smaller than that of fossil-based electricity. This paper also reviews the EPBT and GHG emission rates of some advanced PV systems, such as high-concentration, heterojunction and dye-sensitized technologies. The EBPT of high-concentration PV system is lower, ranging from 0.7 to 2.0 years, but the CO2 emission rate of dye-sensitized PV system is higher than the ones of other PV systems at the moment. The LCA results show that PV technologies are already proved to be very sustainable and environmental-friendly in the state of the art. With the emerging of new manufacturing technologies, the environmental performance of PV technologies is expected to be further improved in the near future. In addition, considering the existing limitations in the previous LCA studies, a few suggestions are recommended.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10397/34975
ISSN: 1364-0321
DOI: 10.1016/j.rser.2012.11.035
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