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Environmental Aspects of Thin Film Module Production and Product Lifetime

Vasilis Fthenakis
PV Environmental Research Center Brookhaven National Laboratory
and

Center for Life Cycle Analysis Columbia University


Invited Plenary Presentation at the 25th European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, Valencia, September 9, 2010 email: vmf@bnl.gov web: www.pv.bnl.gov www.clca.columbia.edu
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PV Sustainability Criteria

Photovoltaics are required to meet the need for abundant electricity generation at competitive costs, whilst conserving resources for future generations, and having environmental impacts lower than those of alternative future energyoptions

Sustainability Metrics: Low Cost Resource Availability Minimum Environmental Impact

Thin-Film PV -The Triangle of Success


Low Cost
Affordability Affordabilityin inaa competitive competitiveworld world

Cd Cdin inCdTe CdTe& &CIGS CIGS -Si/mc-Si NF 3 in NF inaa-Si/mc-Si


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Resource Availability
Tellurium in CdTe Indium in CIGS Germanium in a-SiGe
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Lowest Environmental Impact

Tellurium for PV* from Copper Smelters


Tellurium Availability for PV* (MT/yr)
5000 4500 4000 3500

Te (M T/yr)

3000 2500 2000 1500 1000 500 0

High Low

2010
Global

2020

2030

2040

2050

2060

2070

2080

2090

2100

Efficiency of Extracting Te from anode slimes increases to 80% by 2030 (low scenario); 90% by 2040 (high scenario) * 322 MT/yr Te demand for other uses has been subtracted
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Fthenakis, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2009

Te Availability for PV:


Primary + Recycled
5000 5000 4500 4500 4000 4000 3500 3500

Tellurium Availability for PV (MT/yr) High Low


Recycling -yrs Recyclingevery every30 30-yrs 10% 10%loss lossin incollection collection 10% loss in recycling 10% loss in recycling

Te e (M T/yr) T T /y r)

3000 3000 2500 2500 2000 2000 1500 1500 1000 1000 500 500 0 0

2010 20

2020

2030

2040

2050

2060

2070

2080

2090

2100

Assumptions for Thin-Film PV Growth


PV Type 2008
Conservative

Efficiency (%) 2020


Most likely Optimistic

CdTe CIGS a-Si-Ge

10.8 11.2 6.7

12.3 14 9

13.2 15.9 9.7

14 16.3 10

Fthenakis, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2009 Update 2010


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Assumptions for Thin-Film PV Growth


PV Type 2008 2008 Efficiency Efficiency (%) (%) 2020 2020
Conservative Conservative Most Most likely likely Optimistic Optimistic

Layer Thickness (m) 2008


Conservative

2020
Most likely Optimistic

CdTe CIGS a-Si-Ge

10.8 10.8 11.2 11.2 6.7 6.7

12.3 12.3 14 14 9 9

13.2 13.2 15.9 15.9 9.7 9.7

14 14 16.3 16.3 10 10

3.3 1.6 1.2

2.5 1.2 1.2

1.5 1. 1.1

1. 0.8 1.

Fthenakis, Renewable & Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2009

CdTe PV Annual Production Constraints


CdTe PV (GW/yr)
250

200

Optimistic Optimistic Most likely Most likely Production can increase with direct mining starting at ~2015

CdTe PV (GW/yr)

150

100

Conservative

50

0 2010

Conservative
2020 2030 2040 2050 2060 2070 2080 2090 2100

CIGS Material-based Growth Constraints*


CIGS PV (GW/yr)
250

200 CIGS PV (GW/yr)

Optimistic

150

Most likely Conservative

100

50

0 2010

2020

2030

2040

2050

2060

2070

2080

2090

2100

Fthenakis, IEEE PVSC, June 23, 2010


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* 1/2 of In production growth is allocated to PV

Life Cycle Environmental Impacts


Concerns Concernsabout about accidental releases accidental releases of ofCdTe CdTe
M, Q Raw Raw Material Material Acquisition Acquisition E M, Q M, Q M, Q M, Q M, Q

Material Material Processing Processing

Manufacture Manufacture

Use Use

Decommiss Decommiss -ioning -ioning

Treatment Treatment Disposal Disposal M, Q

Recycling Recycling

M, Q: material and energy inputs E: effluents (air, water, solid)


E

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CdTe PV Product Life Accidental Releases

PV Roof-top fires

Negligible emissions during fires


Fthenakis, Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 2004, Fthenakis et al., Progress in Photovoltaics, 2005

Based Based on on standard standard protocols protocols by by the the ASTM ASTM and and UL UL Expert Expert Peer Peer reviews reviews by by:: BNL, BNL, US-DOE, US-DOE, 2004 2004 EC-JRC, EC-JRC, 2004 2004 German German Ministry Ministry of of the the Environment, Environment, (BMU), (BMU), 2005 2005 French French Ministry Ministry of of Ecology, Ecology, Energy, Energy, 2009 2009

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CdTe PV Fire-Simulation Tests: XRF Analysis

Heat

XRF-micro-spectroscopy -Cd Mapping in PV Glass 1000 C, Section taken from middle of sample

XRF-micro-probing Cd Distribution in PV Glass 1000 C, right end of sample

0 -0.5 -1
0

0 -0.5 -1

position (mm)

position (mm)

-1.5 -2
position (mm)

-1 -2 -3 -4 -5 -6

-1.5 -2 -2.5 -3 -3.5 -4 0 10000 20000 30000 Cd (counts)

-2.5 -3 -3.5 -4 -4.5 0 10000 20000 30000

-7 -8 0 5000 Cd (counts) 10000

Cd (counts)

Fthenakis, Fuhrman, Heiser, Lanzirotti, Fitts and Wang, Progress in Photovoltaics, 2005
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CdTe PV Product Life Accidental Releases

Leaching from shuttered modules


10 mm fragments -Rain-worst-case scenario- leached Cd concentration in the collected water is no higher than the German drinking water concentration.
(Steinberger, Frauhoffer Institute Solid State Technology, Progress in Photovoltaics, 1998)

< 4 mm fragments Leached Cd exceeds the limits for disposal in inert landfill but is lower than limits for ordinary landfills
(Okkenhaug, Norgegian Geotechnical Institute, Report, 2010)

Uncontrolled Uncontrolleddumping dumpingof ofCdTe-modules CdTe-modules will result in greater environmental will result in greater environmentalrisks risks compared with disposal in approved compared with disposal in approved landfill landfillsites sites

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CdTe PV Product Life Accidental Releases

Leaching from shuttered modules


10 mm fragments -Rain-worst-case scenario- leached Cd concentration in the collected water is no higher than the German drinking water concentration.
(Steinberger, Frauhoffer Institute Solid State Technology, Progress in Photovoltaics, 1998)

< 4 mm fragments Leached Cd exceeds the limits for disposal in inert landfill but is lower than limits for ordinary landfills
(Okkenhaug, Norgegian Geotechnical Institute, Report, 2010)

< 2 mm fragments CdTe PV sample failed California TTLC and STLC tests (Sierra Analytical Labs for the Non-Toxic Solar Alliance, 2010)

We We advocate advocate for for all all PV PV modules modules to to be be recycled recycled at at the the end end of of their their life life
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All AllPV PVmodules moduleswould wouldfail failthe theCalifornia Californiatests tests c-Si c-Sifor forAg, Ag,Pb, Pb,and andCu Cu(ribbon), (ribbon), CIGS CIGSfor forSe; Se;a-Si a-Simarginally marginallyfor forAg Ag th Eberspacher IEEEPVSC, Eberspacher& &Fthenakis, Fthenakis,26 26thIEEEPVSC, 1997; Eberspacher 1998 1997; Eberspacher 1998

The Triangle of Success


Low Cost

Recycling
Resource Availability Lowest Environmental Impact

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Atmospheric Cd Emissions from the LifeCycle of CdTe PV Modules Reference Case


Process 1. Mining of Zn ores 2. Zn Smelting/Refining 3. Cd purification 4. CdTe Production 5. CdTe PV Manufacturing 6. CdTe PV Operation 7. CdTe PV Recycling TOTAL EMISSIONS (g Cd/ton Cd*) 2.7 40 6 6 0.4* 0.05 0.1* (% ) 0.58 0.58 100 100 100 100 100 (mg Cd/GWh) 0.02 0.30 7.79 7.79 0.52* 0.06 0.13* 16.55

Plus Plus 200 200mg mgCd/GWh Cd/GWhfrom from fossil fuels in the electricity fossil fuels in the electricity mix mixin inthe thelife-cycle life-cycleof ofCdTe CdTe PV PV
Fthenakis V. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 8, 303-334, 2004 * 2009 updates
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Total Life-Cycle Cd Atmospheric Emissions


50 44.3 40

30 g Cd/GWh

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10 3.7 0.4 0
as i m on oSi nS m cS dT oa G O il C bo uc N C al le ar e i l

0.7

0.6

0.2

0.3

0.9

rib

Fthenakis and Kim, Thin-Solid Films, 515(15), 5961, 2007 Fthenakis, Kim & Alsema, Environ. Sci. Technol, 42, 2168, 2008
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at

ur

GHGs Used in PV Module Manufacturing


Substance Source

CF4 C2F6 SF6 NF3

c-Si surface etching c-Si reactor cleaning a-Si/nc-Si reactor cleaning a-Si/nc-Si reactor cleaning

PV: PV: climate climate killer? killer? The The NF3 NF3 story story

Photon PhotonMagazine, Magazine,December December2008 2008

Weiss et al (2008), Nitrogen trifluoride in the global atmosphere, Geophysical


Research Letters, 2008
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NF3 Emissions in a-Si/nc-Si PV Life-Cycles


Analysis

based on detailed data from

Air Products NF3 Production Applied Materials NF3 Use in PV

Qualitative information from


Kanto Denka - NF3 Production Oerlikon NF3 Use in PV

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Trends in NF3 Production and Emission Factors


Global NF3 Manufacturing Capacity (Metric tons)
8000

NF3 Emission Factor Relative to Global Production 2000 2008


0.45

7000

0.40 0.35 0.30 0.25

6000

5000

4000

0.20
3000

0.15
2000

0.10
1000

0.05 0.00
1995 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008

2000

2001

2002

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

Source: R. Ridgeway, Air Products


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Emission Trends in NF3 Manufacturing


Known NF3 Emission Factors 0.8% 0.7% Em ission Factors (% ) 0.6% 0.5% 0.4% 0.3% 0.2% 0.1% 0.0% NF3 Dryer Losses NF3 Reactor Losses NF3 Liquifier Losses NF3 Analytical Losses All Other Vents

Mar-09
Apr-10
Target

Source: R. Ridgeway, Air Products


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NF3 Emission Measurements in Typical a-Si and tandem Si PV Fabs


Factory
A B C D E F Average Source avg NF3 DRE Conc (ppm) (%) 1.0 8.5 27.5 2.0 8.6 11.0 99.98 99.90 99.75 99.98 99.90 99.87 99.89 Emission Factor (%) 0.02 0.1 0.25 0.02 0.1 0.13 0.11

Applied Materials Applied Materials Applied Materials Third Party Third Party Third Party

For average U.S. insolation (1800 kWh/m2/y) NF3 life-cycle emissions add 2 - 7 g/kWh of CO2-eq

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Conclusion

Thin-film PV can reach very high rates of growth without being impaired from material availability issues. Recycling spent modules will become increasingly important in resolving cost, resource, and environmental constraints to large scales of sustainable growth. The controlled use of NF3 in the a-Si/nc-Si PV industry will not alter the environmental benefits of PV replacing fossil fuels if best practices are adopted globally.

Email: VMF@BNL.GOV
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www.pv.bnl.gov

Acknowledgment

Support from US-DOE, Solar Technologies Program

Jeff Britt - Global Solar Jun Ki Choi, Huyng Chul Kim BNL Daniel Clark, Mehran Moalem Applied Materials Al Compaan U. Toledo Xunming Deng Xunlight Subhendu Guha - Uni-Solar D.R. Nagaraj - Cytec Funsho Ojebuoboh, Alex Heard, Dave Eaglesham, Tim Mays, Lisa Krueger -First Solar Robert Ridgeway Air Products Jim Sites Colorado State U. Bill Stanbery -HelioVolt Marc Suys, 5NPlus Bolko von Roedern NREL Ken Zweibel George Washington U.

email: VMF@BNL.GOV web: www.pv.bnl.gov


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