The Study and Assessment of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from the Solar Panel Waste Management Process: Case Study at the University of Phayao
Thailand has promoted the generation of electricity using solar power renewable energy. However, the disposal of solar panels at the end of their life impacts on the environment, especially in terms of greenhouse gas emissions. This research focused on an evaluation of greenhouse gas release in the processes of solar panel waste disposal. This study conducted a scenario analysis of expired solar panels located at the University of Phayao sent for disposal in Japan, and assessed the WEEE Directive (Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment) in the recycling process. Two processes were evaluated: the transportation and recycling of 250-watt, polycrystalline silicon solar cells, based on a product life cycle assessment. The results found that the total greenhouse gas emission value was 8.6370 kgCO2eq/module- 2.1295 kgCO2eq/module from transportation and 6.5075 kgCO2eq/module from the recycling processes in Japan. Establishing a recycling plant in Thailand will diminish the greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. In addition, the use of renewable energy in electricity generation should be encouraged, as well as the selection of highly-efficient recycling technology to reduce the environmental impact.
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