A life cycle analysis was performed on a full roll-to-roll coating procedure used for the manufacture of flexible polymer solar cell modules. The process known as ProcessOne employs a polyester substrate with a sputtered layer of the transparent conductor indium-tin-oxide (ITO). The ITO film was processed into the required pattern using a full roll-to-roll process, employing screen printing of an etch resist and then applying etching, stripping, washing and drying procedures. The three subsequent layers; ZnO, P3HT:PCBM and PEDOT:PSS were slot-die coated and the silver back electrode was screen printed. Finally the polymer solar modules were encapsulated, using a polyester barrier material. All operations except the application of ITO were carried out under ambient conditions. The life cycle analysis delivered a material inventory of the full process for a module production, and an accountability of the energy embedded both in the input materials and in the production processes. Finally, upon assumption of power conversion efficiencies and lifetime for the modules, a calculation of energy pay-back time allowed us to compare this roll-to-roll manufacturing with other organic and hybrid photovoltaic technologies. The results showed that an Energy Pay-Back Time (EPBT) of 2.02 years can be achieved for an organic solar module of 2% efficiency, which could be reduced to 1.35 years, if the efficiency was 3%.
This work was supported by the Danish Strategic Research
Council (DSF2104-05-0052 and 2104-07-0022), EUDP
(j. nr.64009-0050), by the Spanish Ministry of Science and
Innovation (Consolider-HOPECSD2007-00007), by Comunidad
Autonoma dela Region de Murcia(CARM-D429-2008) and
Antonio Urbina wants to acknowledge financial support from
Fundacion Seneca de Murcia (exp.14898/EE10/10).