Thin-film cadmium telluride photovoltaics: ES and H issues, solutions, and perspectives

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Photovoltaics (PV) is a growing business worldwide, with new technologies evolving towards potentially large-volume production. PV use produces no emissions, thus offsetting many potential environmental problems. However, the new PV technologies also bring unfamiliar environment, safety, and health (ES and H) challenges that require innovative solutions. This is a summary of the issues, solutions, and perspectives associated with the use of cadmium in one of the new and important PV technologies: thin-film, cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV, which is being developed and commercialized by several companies including Solar Cells Inc. (Toledo, Ohio), BP Solar (Fairfield, California), and Matsushita (Japan). The principal ... continued below

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5 pages

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Zweibel, K.; Moskowitz, P. & Fthenakis, V. February 1, 1998.

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Description

Photovoltaics (PV) is a growing business worldwide, with new technologies evolving towards potentially large-volume production. PV use produces no emissions, thus offsetting many potential environmental problems. However, the new PV technologies also bring unfamiliar environment, safety, and health (ES and H) challenges that require innovative solutions. This is a summary of the issues, solutions, and perspectives associated with the use of cadmium in one of the new and important PV technologies: thin-film, cadmium telluride (CdTe) PV, which is being developed and commercialized by several companies including Solar Cells Inc. (Toledo, Ohio), BP Solar (Fairfield, California), and Matsushita (Japan). The principal ES and H issue for thin-film cadmium telluride PV is the potential introduction of cadmium--a toxic heavy metal--into the air or water. The amount of cadmium in thin-film PV, however, is quite small--one nickel cadmium flashlight battery has about as much cadmium (7 g) as a square meter of PV module using current technology--and a typical cordless power tool will have 5--10 batteries. CdTe modules are also very well sealed, limiting the chance of release. Nonetheless, minimizing the amount of cadmium in cadmium telluride modules and preventing the introduction of that cadmium into the environment is a top priority for National Renewable Energy Laboratory researchers and cadmium telluride PV manufacturers.

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5 pages

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  • Other Information: Supercedes report DE98003208; PBD: Feb 1998

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  • Other: DE98003208
  • Report No.: NREL/TP--520-24057
  • Grant Number: AC36-83CH10093
  • DOI: 10.2172/578669 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 578669
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc698314

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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  • February 1, 1998

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Aug. 14, 2015, 8:43 a.m.

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  • March 31, 2016, 5:50 p.m.

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Zweibel, K.; Moskowitz, P. & Fthenakis, V. Thin-film cadmium telluride photovoltaics: ES and H issues, solutions, and perspectives, report, February 1, 1998; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc698314/: accessed October 19, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.