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					Life Cycle Considerations for
Solar Energy Technologies



Maxwell K. Micali
ASME
Yale University
August 4, 2011
Outline
•  Issue Definition
•  Background
•  Life Cycle Analysis
•  Current Policy
•  Policy
   Recommendations
                         Source: Sandia National Laboratories
Issue Definition
Background – Solar Resources
•  7000 GW capacity
   in Southwest

•  7 times the total
   U.S. energy
   consumption in
   2007

(1 TW = 103 GW = 106 MW =
   109 kW = 1012 W)         Source: The National Academies Press
Background – Photovoltaics (PV)
•  Converts light directly to
   electricity
•  Created in 1950s for satellite
   use
   -  Vanguard I, 1958
•  Use on land began in 1970s
•  Most widely known and
   adopted solar technology today

                                    Source: Total.com
Background – Concentrating Solar
Power (CSP)
Converts light to thermal energy, then
  to electricity

Three main types of CSP…

Parabolic Trough
  -  ≈ 700˚F
  -  310 MW Solar Energy Generating
     Systems (SEGS), 1984

                                         Source: Sandia National Laboratory
Background – Concentrating Solar
Power (CSP)
Power Tower
  -  ≈ 1000˚F
•  1982-1988
  -  10 MW Solar One
•  1995 – 1999
  -  Solar Two
  -  Included thermal storage
•  Only two facilities currently in
   operation or under construction in
   the U.S.
                                        Source: Sandia National Laboratory
Background – Concentrating Solar
Power (CSP)
Solar Dish/Engine
  -  ≈ 1200˚F
•  Can use heat-transfer
   fluid (HTF) or power
   internal generator
•  Modular, 1-40 kW
   capacity for each unit



                            Source: Fraizer, Barnes, and Associates, LLC   Source: Sandia National Laboratory
Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)
Traditional evaluations only consider the “use” phase of life

More accurate and comprehensive analyses consider a product "from
 cradle to grave”

Each phase of life factors into the LCA:
•  Raw Material Acquisition
•  Manufacturing
•  Transport
•  Use/Maintenance
•  Recycle/Waste Management
Life Cycle Analysis




     Source: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
Life Cycle Analysis – Photovoltaics
R=f(HxE)                     Module Type                             Types of Potential Hazards
•  Risk, R                   Crystalline-silicon (x-Si)              HF acid burns
                                                                     SiH4 fires/explosions
•  Hazard, H                                                         Pb solder/module disposal
•  Exposure, E               Amorphous-silicon (α-Si)                SiH4 fires/explosions

Major hazards in PV
  manufacturing              Cadmium Telluride                       Cd toxicity, carcinogenicity
                             (CdTe)                                  Module disposal
Requires the use of rare-
  earth metals, of which     Copper Indium                           H2Se toxicity
  China controls 95% of      Diselenide (CIS)                        Module disposal
  the market                 Copper Indium Gallium
                             Diselenide (CGS)
Production undergoing
  rapid outsourcing to       Gallium Arsenide (GaAs)                 AsH3 toxicity
  developing countries                                               As carcinogenicity
                                                                     H2 flammability
No well-established PV                                               Module disposal
  recycling program         Source: Brookhaven National Laboratory
Life Cycle Analysis – CSP
Composed mainly of
  common metals, glass,
  concrete, and HTF
Thermal hazard
Requires higher
  intensity solar
  radiation than PV
Allows for integrated
  energy storage          Source: Sandia National Laboratory
Life Cycle Analysis – CSP

Thermal energy
  storage allows for
  decoupling of
  energy collection
  and electricity
  generation




                       Source: National Renewable Energy Laboratory
Life Cycle Analysis – Comparison
Photovoltaics                        Concentrating Solar Power
•  10-15% efficient (commercially)   •  40-70% efficiency
•  Advanced battery technology       •  Integrated energy storage
   still in development
•  Converts light directly to        •  Converts light directly to heat
   electricity
•  Toxic feedstocks and waste        •  Simpler and more benign
                                        materials
•  More practical on a small scale   •  Most practical on a large,
                                        utility scale
Current Policy
Fiscal year 2002-2007:
•  Traditional energy R&D received over twice the federal funding that
   renewable energy received
•  Also received over five times the tax expenditures that renewable energy
   received
PV Incubator Program
•  Department of Energy (DOE) funds National Renewable Energy Lab
   (NREL) administered program
•  NREL selectively cost-shares with PV companies to move from
   prototype to pilot product in 18 months
•  Since 2007, $50 million of federal funding attracted $1.3 billion in
   private capital
•  Some success stories: PrimeStar (GE acquired), Semprius (16% stake by
   Siemens), Abound, Calisolar, 1366, Solopower
  -  These companies already employ 1,200 people in high technology jobs
  -  Combined, hiring 3,800 full-time American factory workers
Current Policy
Land requirements
•  Solar = 5 acres/MW
•  Traditional energy = 0.25-1 acre/MW

Public Land Use Permitting – Bureau of Land Management (BLM)
•  Typically a 3-5 year process to receive Right-of-Way (ROW) permit for
   public land use, unless "Fast-Track" status
•  ROW process involves:
  -    BLM, DoD, Fish and Wildlife Service, Forest Service, and other federal agencies
  -    State agencies
  -    Tribal governments
  -    County and local governments
Only 10 permits granted for solar projects (first in 2010)
Current Policy
Policy Suggestions
A national recycling program for photovoltaics
 should be established, and participation should
 be a requirement for both manufacturers and
 consumers

Education materials on the proper disposal of
 photovoltaics should be distributed to current
 and future consumers.
Policy Suggestions
Innovation and Development:

•  Prioritize reducing CSP power cost
  -  Administer cost shared R&D contracts through NREL, SNL to prioritize
     scaling of economy
  -  Similar to PV Incubator Program
     o  Low-cost thermal storage solutions
     o  Improved optical materials
     o  Manufacturing processes
•  Reprogram existing solar funding initiatives to target a wider
   breadth of the solar industry, redefining the allowable actions to
   specifically include CSP
Policy Suggestions
Designated plots of land should be established for solar energy
•  “Limbo Lands” are underused, formerly contaminated sites
•  Many environmental groups support the use of Limbo Lands for
   large solar installations
•  Permits for Limbo Lands should be more rapidly processed

Public Land Use
•  Need faster ROW processing
•  Use revenue from rents and royalties of permitted solar projects
•  Distribute revenue to all the involved agencies
Additional Points
Limited window of opportunity to deploy new
 technologies

Failure to capitalize could mean decades with
 more traditional technology and a lost
 opportunity for American innovation.

If the U.S. does not drive innovation, other
  countries will leave it behind
Acknowledgements
I especially thank:
•  Melissa Carl, Robert Rains, and the rest of the ASME staff for their
   guidance and assistance
•  All of the national laboratories, agencies, and other organizations
   that provided me with information during my research
•  Sandy Yeigh, Erica Wissolik, the WISE program, and all of the other
   WISE interns

This work was supported by ASME.
Questions?


For references, please refer to corresponding
research paper


Maxwell Micali
WISE Policy Research Fellow
ASME
maxwellmicali@asme.org                          Source: Solar Thermal Solutions

				
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