IISc student, Mr. Roshan R Rao has been awarded the prestigious BHAVANs (Building Energy Efficiency Higher & Advanced Network) fellowship to pursue collaborative research at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley. His work is a novel research initiated at CST, IISc with Berkeley stepping in to identify sustainable end-of-life strategies to address the issue of mounting PV waste worldwide.
Click here to the see the BHAVAN Awards 2020 list.
The current research area aims to investigate the radiative transmittance of End-of-life Photovoltaic (EoL-PV) panels as an element of the building envelope, i.e. as a building material. This is a novel hitherto untried approach to upcycle EoL-PV as a building material. PV panels comprise inherently durable materials, which are discarded once their primary purpose of electricity generation is found to be unviable/unreliable. Such discarded panels are currently sent to landfills where they risk contaminating the soil and ground water. Current waste management practices to handle and process PV waste are still nebulous and economically unviable. PV waste in India and around the world areestimated to be around tens of millions of tonnes annually by the year 2050. Appropriately integrated as a building envelope, EoL-PV could also serve to reduce buildingenergy demand, thereby lowering associated GHG emissions. Earlier investigations into Building Integrated PV (BIPV) reveal a high radiative transmittance andlow thermal mass associated with the integrated PV panels. The current study wouldinvestigate the adoption of EoL-PV as a walling and fenestration element. EoL PV panels can becharacterized by diverse types (Si based-thin films) and deterioration states which wouldinfluence its radiative transmittance. Hence, the following work involves the measurement of optical properties of PV panels in different spectral bands. Such investigations could aid in identifying the potential integration of diverse EoL-PV for various building typologies, as a cost-effective and durable building material.