Welcome to the Exergoecology Portal
You are here: Home / Resources / Exergoecology bibliography / Simulation-Based Exergy Analysis of Large Circular Economy Systems: Zinc Production Coupled to CdTe Photovoltaic Module Life Cycle

A. A Llamas, N. J Bartie, M. Heibeck, M. Stelter, and M. A Reuter (2020)

Simulation-Based Exergy Analysis of Large Circular Economy Systems: Zinc Production Coupled to CdTe Photovoltaic Module Life Cycle

Journal of Sustainable Metallurgy, 6:34-67.

The second law of thermodynamics (2LT) helps to quantify the limits as well as the resource efficiency of the circular economy (CE) in the transformation of resources, which include materials, energy, or water, into products and residues, some of which will be irreversibly lost. Furthermore, material and energy losses will also occur, as well as the residues and emissions that are generated have an environmental impact. Identifying the limits of circularity of large-scale CE systems, i.e., flowsheets, is necessary to understand the viability of the CE. With this deeper understanding, the full social, environmental, and economic sustainability can be explored. Exergy dissipation, a measure of resource consumption, material recoveries, and environmental impact indicators together provide a quantitative basis for designing a resource-efficient CE system. Unique and very large simulation models, linking up to 223 detailed modeled unit operations, over 860 flows and 30 elements, and all associated compounds, apply this thermoeconomic (exergy-based) methodology showing (i) the resource efficiency limits, in terms of material losses and exergy dissipation of the CdTe photovoltaic (PV) module CE system (i.e., from ore to metal production, PV module production, and end-of-life recycling of the original metal into the system again) and (ii) the analysis of the zinc processing subsystem of the CdTe PV system, for which the material recovery, resource consumption, and environmental impacts of different processing routes were evaluated, and the most resource-efficient alternative to minimize the residue production during zinc production was selected. This study also quantifies the key role that metallurgy plays in enabling sustainability. Therefore, it highlights the criticality of the metallurgical infrastructure to the CE, above and beyond simply focusing on the criticality of the elements.

CdTe photovoltaic (PV) modules, Circular economy, Digital twin, Exergy, Geometallurgy, Jarosite, Process simulation, Sustainability, Thermoeconomics

Document Actions

NEWSLETTER

Please subscribe for the new newsletter.

unsubscribe
EXERGY MANIFESTO
SUPPORTED BY
Logo instituto Circe
Ministerio de Economía y Competitividad
Ulysea S.L. - Informática
RELEVANT BOOKS

The Material Limits of Energy Transition: Thanatia

Antonio Valero Capilla, Alicia Valero Delgado and Guiomar Calvo

This book provides a holistic view of raw mineral depletion in the context of renewable energy transistion.

The material limits Thanatia

BUY NOW 

Thanatia. Los límites minerales del planeta

mites minerales del planeta

 Antonio Valero Capilla and Alicia Valero Delgado interviewed by Adrián Almazán

We need a material transition, not only energetic, that restores nature and effectively reuses materials. Gaia must be cared for by extending life on Earth and slowing its degradation towards Thanatia.

Thanatia los limites

BUY NOW

Thermodynamics for Sustainable Management of Natural Resources

Cover Thermodynamics

Wojciech Stanek (Editor)

This book examines ways of assessing the rational management of nonrenewable resources. Integrating numerous methods, it systematically exposes the strengths of exergy analysis in resources management.

Thanatia: The Destiny of the Earth's Mineral Resources

Cover Thanatia

A Thermodynamic Cradle-to-Cradle Assessment by (author): Antonio Valero Capilla and Alicia Valero Delgado

Is Gaia becoming Thanatia, a resource exhausted planet? For how long can our high-tech society be sustained in the light of declining mineral ore grades, heavy dependence on un-recycled critical metals and accelerated material dispersion? These are all root causes of future disruptions that need to be addressed today.