Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Constraints on large-scale implementation of BioSolarCells, Early stage assessment of environmental value propositions

What performance criteria does a new technology have to fulfill in order to be added to the list of future energy options and what constraints exist in terms of broad market penetration?

2013 - 2016
Ministry of Economic affairs, The Netherlands


Biosolar cells is a public-private cooperation between different companies and knowledge institutes in the Netherlands. For all participating partners in the Bio Solar cells consortium see:  www.biosolarcells.nl

Short abstract

Within the Dutch research initiative Biosolar Cells novel technologies that use improved and artificial  photosynthesis are developed as part of a sustainable energy supply. This project assesses these technologies on their future sustainability impacts. This early assessment helps guiding the  further development of these technologies.

Project description

The Bio Solar Cells initiative aims to improve the natural process of photosynthesis and enhance its potential as a source of energy, biomass and food. Within BSC the goal of this specific project is to provide an ex-ante analysis of the opportunities and constraints of Biosolar technologies to help guide their further development.
New sustainable technologies at early stages of development are often introduced to the public by using promising claims for the future. This project aims at developing a method to assess technologies on their sustainable merit while they are still in these early stages of their development.

Based on Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) a novel and wider approach to sustainability questions called Life Cycle Sustainability Analysis (LCSA) has been suggested. This research builds on first efforts to develop LCSA and enhances the development by applying the method to BSC case studies. 
The outcomes of this study will primarily be used to further develop BSC technologies but can also be used to perform ex ante sustainability assessment of technologies is general or guide new research in that direction.

The Institute of Environmental Sciences (CML) has a long history and is a front runner in the development of the LCA methodology. Increasing efforts are designated to the development of the LCSA methodology.

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