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Life cycle assessment of grid-connected power generation from metallurgical route multi-crystalline silicon photovoltaic system in China


  • Yu, Zhiqiang
  • Ma, Wenhui
  • Xie, Keqiang
  • Lv, Guoqiang
  • Chen, Zhengjie
  • Wu, Jijun
  • Yu, Jie


A life cycle assessment (LCA) has been performed for the grid-connected electricity generation from a metallurgical route multi-crystalline silicon (multi-Si) photovoltaic (PV) system in China. The energy payback time (EPBT), environmental impacts and total environmental impact indexes were calculated. Based on the contribution analysis, it can find out the most critical stage (or process) and the greatest environmental impact. Meanwhile, the main cause of them were traced respectively. The sensitivity analysis reveals that aluminum consumption makes the most obvious influence. However, PV station retirement affects the result significantly by recycling the important materials. The total environmental impact indexes of solar grade silicon (SoG-Si) production via metallurgical route were compared with purification via modified Siemens process. Results show that the metallurgical route is with obvious advantage. Among the renewable energy, photovoltaics with the minimal environmental impact is only 3.33% of coal-fired power generation. The environmental impact of current work is about 56–66% of other nations’ PV results. In order to promote the green and sustainable development of the Chinese PV industry, there is usually a brief comment or relevant suggestion for improvement after each analysis and comparison in this research.

Suggested Citation

  • Yu, Zhiqiang & Ma, Wenhui & Xie, Keqiang & Lv, Guoqiang & Chen, Zhengjie & Wu, Jijun & Yu, Jie, 2017. "Life cycle assessment of grid-connected power generation from metallurgical route multi-crystalline silicon photovoltaic system in China," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 185(P1), pages 68-81.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:appene:v:185:y:2017:i:p1:p:68-81
    DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2016.10.051

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jeners:v:11:y:2018:i:10:p:2806-:d:176584 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:gam:jeners:v:12:y:2019:i:3:p:429-:d:201837 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Ravikumar, Dwarakanath & Wender, Ben & Seager, Thomas P. & Fraser, Matthew P. & Tao, Meng, 2017. "A climate rationale for research and development on photovoltaics manufacture," Applied Energy, Elsevier, vol. 189(C), pages 245-256.
    4. repec:eee:appene:v:205:y:2017:i:c:p:57-68 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. repec:eee:appene:v:238:y:2019:i:c:p:760-774 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. repec:eee:appene:v:215:y:2018:i:c:p:174-185 is not listed on IDEAS


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