Techno-Economic Analysis and Life Cycle Analysis (PP5.2)
PP5.2: Techno-Economic Analysis and Life Cycle Analysis
Investigators: UNSW – Nathan Chang, Marina Lunardi, Renate Egan, Richard Corkish, Jose Bilbao, CSIRO – Anthony Chesman, ANU – Andrew Blakers, Monash – Jacek Jasieniak
Techno-economic and life cycle analyses are a support activity that relates to all of the other program packages, which focuses on the technical feasibility of new PV technologies. In this program package activity, developments are assessed for their financial viability and environmental impact. A favourable assessment in both areas is necessary for a technology to be able to be deployed at TW level.
Techno-economic analysis evaluates technical work carried out across the program from a cost/benefit perspective. Such analysis can inform researchers of the status (economically) of the technology, and the key cost and performance drivers that must be improved to allow the technology to be deployed at scale. TW scale deployment can only be achieved if industry can manufacture and install systems with an adequate financial return.
Life cycle analysis examines the technologies from an environmental impact perspective. A complete analysis will consider the production, use and end-of-life treatment, comparing the total environmental impacts per kWh of electricity generated (for example), and comparing this to other alternatives. Any renewable technology that could potentially be deployed at TW scale must be able to show a benefit when considering its entire life cycle impacts.
Cell and module technologies developed in PP1 and PP2 will be assessed from a financial and environmental perspective (considering manufacturing, deployment, use and end-of-life compared with lifetime energy yield) as needed to provide insights into directions for improving each technology.
In support of PP5.1, cost and environmental impacts of different PV technologies will be assessed from the perspective of TW deployment. For example: i) material shortages would be expected to result in increased material pricing due to supply and demand; ii) updates to material usage in modern modules (ie life cycle inventory) will allow more accurate assessment of environmental impacts; and iii) some environmental impacts may become more relevant at scale, such as ecological impacts of very large solar farms. Such issues need to be identified and addressed before they become a problem. Information from such assessments will be fed back into PP5.1 to improve module and system design.
In support of PP5.3, the cost impacts of local manufacturing will be assessed, as well as environmental impacts from alternate supply chain and transport costs and manufacturing in locations with different levels of renewable energy electricity mix.
In support of PP5.5, alternative re-use and recycling pathways (collection, transportation, processing, material sales, waste disposal) will be assessed from both a financial and environmental perspective to identify the most promising alternatives to achieving profitable (or least cost) end-of-life management.