Life cycle energy use and environmental implications of high-performance perovskite tandem solar cells
Among the wide array of renewable energy resources, abundant solar energy can be converted into electric power through photovoltaic (PV) technologies without inducing substantial environmental burden. To meet the stringent requirements of efficient deployment of PVs on a global scale, low manufacturing costs and enhanced power conversion efficiency (PCE) are urgently needed. The emerging metal halide perovskite family has demonstrated great potential as light-harvesting active materials by virtue of excellent light absorption and charge-carrier mobilities. Most the of applied perovskite research is focusing on the enhancement of PCEs and long-term stability for single junctions or tandems. However, a critical gap in the literature is a critical assessment of the energy use and environmental implications throughout the life cycle of a module, which will be integral to the sustainable development of such innovative technologies.
A recent study aimed to fill this gap by directly assessing the environmental impacts of two cutting-edge two-terminal (2T) monolithic perovskite tandem solar cells, namely, perovskite-silicon and perovskite-perovskite configurations. They performed holistic LCA studies with an explicit consideration on the scalability issues mentioned above and find that silicon-free tandems are more promising than perovskite-silicon tandems to replace silicon PVs in the short term with respect to environmental factors.
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