Description of field of research:

The use of renewable energy sources, such as solar energy, has gained significant attention due to the environmental benefits it offers. However, the manufacture and disposal of solar panels can have significant environmental impacts. Design-for-Recycling (DfR) is an approach that aims to minimize the environmental impact of a product by ensuring that it can be recycled or repurposed at the end of its life cycle. This project aims to compare the environmental benefits of different DfR solar panels.

The project will involve the following steps:

  1. Literature Review: A thorough review of the literature will be conducted to identify the different design strategies used in DfR solar panels. The review will also examine the environmental impacts associated with the manufacturing, use, and disposal of solar panels.
  2. Selection of Solar Panels: Based on the findings of the literature review, a selection of DfR solar panels will be made for the comparison. The selection will be based on the different design strategies used in the panels and their environmental performance.
  3. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA): An LCA will be conducted to compare the environmental impacts of the selected solar panels.
  4. Analysis of Results: The results of the LCA will be analyzed to identify the environmental benefits of the different DfR solar panels. The analysis will also examine the trade-offs between different design strategies and environmental benefits.
  5. Recommendations: Based on the findings of the analysis, recommendations will be made for the design of DfR solar panels that offer the greatest environmental benefits.

The project can be continued as an honors thesis.

Research Area

Photovoltaic power systems | Solar cells | Recycling

The student is expected to work closely with Dr. Rong Deng and the SPREE end-of-life PV recycling research group.

The undergraduate student can experience the research environment at SPREE and understand the basic skills needed to conduct more independent research.