Monday, December 8, 2014

Made-in-China May be Costly for the Planet: The Case of Solar Panels

A team from Northwestern University lef by prof. Fengqi You performed a comprehensive evaluation called life cycle analysis on solar panels. LCA accounts for the energy used to make a product including the energy to mine raw materials, the fuel to transport the materials and products, the electricity to power the processing factory, and the cost and impacts of most resources required. This yields a more complete picture of costs environmental impacts for making and using solar panels.

The primary differences, the researchers found, are the less stringent enforcement of environmental regulations in China coupled with the country’s more coal-dependent power sector. “It takes a lot of energy to extract and process solar-grade silicon,” says co-author Seth Darling. “And in China, that energy tends to come from dirtier and less efficient energy sources than it does in Europe.”

How to Lose Market Share in Public Transit?

Simple: Invest in urban rail systems!

Evaluating Urban Rail