ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF TRANSPARENT PHOTOVOLTAICS

Event Date/Time: 
December 6, 2018 - 10:30am
Event Location: 
Room A10 Engineering Research Complex
Speaker: 
Eunsang Lee
PhD Dissertation Defense Presentation

Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering

Ph.D. Dissertation Defense Presentation

Time: Thursday, Dec. 6th at 10:30 a.m.

Place: Room A10 Engineering Research Complex

 

ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT OF TRANSPARENT PHOTOVOLTAICS

By

Eunsang Lee

Advisor: Dr. Annick Anctil

 

ABSTRACT

Transparent organic photovoltaics (TPV) can harvest energy from the near-infrared (NIR) and ultraviolet region of the solar spectrum and could be used in new applications such as windows.  In addition to producing electricity the transparent organic solar cell absorbs in the NIR region and could reduce the cooling energy demand of the building during summer. Organic photovoltaics is an emerging technology, developed mostly to replace fossil fuel energy based to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. As new technology is reaching commercialization, it is essential to quantify its environmental impact and ensure that new issues are not created. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is often used to compare energy technologies and identify environmental concerns but is challenging for emerging technologies due to lack of inventory data. To  guide future transparent OPV development this work (1) demonstrates a new iterative methodology to evaluate and guide OPV material manufacturing that combines LCA and green chemistry approaches, (2) evaluate the energy saving from organic TPV in window and skylight applications in various cities, and (3) assess the impact of organic TPV on urban heat island effect.

The methodology was used to identify the “hotspot”, which correspond to the process  that has the highest impact for chloroaluminum phthalocyanine (ClAlPc). An optimized process that reduces the environmental impact by 3%, the cost by 9% and chemicals hazard by 23% compared to the current process was demonstrated. The impact of TPV during the use phase was studied using ClAlPc based devices in window application. The building energy performance was shown to be improved by up to 20 % due to heating and cooling energy saving. The energy saving vary with climate since NIR absorption by TPV in window is more efficient in warmer climate. The use of TPV for window  in urban area could also reduce the energy demand of buildings. The net energy saving by the TPV application in urban area was calculated to be higher than in rural area by up to 2 GJ per month.