Design for Recycling Principles Applicable to Selected Clean Energy Technologies: Crystalline-Silicon Photovoltaic Modules, Electric Vehicle Batteries, and Wind Turbine Blades

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus Citations

Abstract

Abstract: The global growth of clean energy technology deployment will be followed by parallel growth in end-of-life (EOL) products, bringing both challenges and opportunities. Cumulatively, by 2050, estimates project 78 million tonnes of raw materials embodied in the mass of EOL photovoltaic (PV) modules, 12 billion tonnes of wind turbine blades, and by 2030, 11 million tonnes of lithium-ion batteries. Owing partly to concern that the projected growth of these technologies could become constrained by raw material availability, processes for recycling them at EOL continue to be developed. However, none of these technologies are typically designed with recycling in mind, and all of them present challenges to efficient recycling. This article synthesizes and extends design for recycling (DfR) principles based on a review of published industrial and academic best practices as well as consultation with experts in the field. Specific principles developed herein apply to crystalline-silicon PV modules, batteries like those used in electric vehicles, and wind turbine blades, while a set of broader principles applies to all three of these technologies and potentially others. These principles are meant to be useful for stakeholders—such as research and development managers, analysts, and policymakers—in informing and promoting decisions that facilitate DfR and, ultimately, increase recycling rates as a way to enhance the circularity of the clean energy economy. The article also discusses some commercial implications of DfR. Graphical Abstract: [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)761-774
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Sustainable Metallurgy
Volume6
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020, The Author(s).

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-6A20-75585

Keywords

  • Batteries
  • Circular economy
  • DfR
  • Photovoltaics
  • PV
  • Renewable energy
  • Wind

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Design for Recycling Principles Applicable to Selected Clean Energy Technologies: Crystalline-Silicon Photovoltaic Modules, Electric Vehicle Batteries, and Wind Turbine Blades'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this