Universiteit Leiden

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Life Cycle Assessment of Nanomaterials and Risk Assessment.

What is the environmental impact, the human health impact and the life cycle and production costs of the lab, pilot and commercial diffusion of nanowires and nanowire-based photovoltaic technologies?

2015 - 2019
EU Horizon2020 (NanoTandem project)


The partners of this project are the partners of the EU Horizon2020 NanoTandem project.

Short abstract

Nanowires in silicon-based solar cells have the potential to reach very high efficiencies while at the same time can contribute to primary material savings. However, there are challenges related to human health, the environment and the cost of the technology. The environmental and human health impacts, in terms of toxicity, of a future commercial dissemination of the technology and the future life cycle costs will be investigated in the early stage of technological development.

Project description

Solar energy is expected to play an important role in the future electricity generation. Nanowire-based photovoltaic systems is a promising technology and it has the potential to reaching high efficiencies and reducing material consumption. Challenges related to the environment, human health and financial costs of the future commercial diffusion of the technology need to be addressed.

Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), Life Cycle Costing (LCC) and Risk Assessment (RA) are tools that will be used to meet these challenges. Scaling up the system from the lab scale and nanowire growth to a future commercial scale of the nanowire-based photovoltaic systems and assessment of the environmental and human health impacts, in terms of toxicity, is the challenge of this PhD.

An early application of LCA, LCC and RA of nanowires and nanowire-based solar technologies for the identification of environmental burdens and opportunities of the technology is of high importance. The goal is that environmental opportunities go alongside technological development, before large investments that put the technology in the industrial scale take place.

CML has almost 30 years of experience in Life Cycle Assessment, it is in the forefront in Life Cycle Costing Research and it has ample experience in the risk assessment of nanoparticles – fate/behavior and toxic effects.

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