Current Projects

Linking Engineering and Science Studies to Support a Transition to Sustainable Energy (Science and Society @ State (S3)

Second Life Potential and Environmental Benefit of EV Batteries in Photovoltaic Applications (Ford)

A Green Chemistry Approach to Organic and Transparent Photovoltaic Material Synthesis and Device Fabrication (NSF-1511098)

The goal of the proposed research is to assess the sustainability of organic photovoltaic device (OPV) manufacture by life-cycle assessment (LCA) and green chemistry metrics. LCA will be used to identify critical steps in the life cycle where the most significant reduction in resource and emissions can be achieved, and suggest new materials synthesis and device fabrication pathways to minimize environmental impact. Toward this end, the research will 1) develop a sustainability-based approach to evaluate organic solar cell manufacturing processes using green chemistry metrics; 2) conduct life cycle inventory of materials and processes used to fabricate single and multi-junction solar cells; 3) develop LCA models to assess current environmental/health/cost impacts of OPV device manufacture, and 4) propose sustainable OPV cell design and manufacturing process based on consideration of alternative materials and processing steps.

End-of-life management of PV waste

Silicon Solar

This project uses proactive sustainability assessment to evaluate the risk for PV to become a major source of electronic waste. The objective of this project is to quantify the amount and toxicity of PV waste as a result of increasing solar installation and diversity of solar technologies. It combines experimental and modeling work to evaluate opportunities for material recovery and recycling to reduce the amount of hazardous waste to be generated. By considering the end-of-life of the product at the design phase, it might be possible to design products, which will be easier to recycle, therefore reducing their impact.

Battery Environmental Impact Characterization

Collaboration with Clemson University (M Kennedy, B Powell and S Creager)





Process design and life cycle modeling of wastewater treatment

Collaboration with Clemson University (Muriel Steele PhD student)

The objective of this project is to investigate alternative methods for wastewater treatment using a combination of process modeling, experimental data and life cycle assessment. Integration of algae biomass and nanomaterials are studied.

PV potential for the Southeast

Current rapid population growth in the region combined to new renewable energy portfolio GIS_PVpolicies could create an opportunity for PV to provide some of the additional required energy. The potential for PV installation and selection of case-study sites is performed using a multi-criteria approach combining specific GIS data on the solar insolation, topographic limitations, environmental and land-use constraints specific for the selected region. Using a life-cycle approach, including system manufacturing, land preparation (deforestation and flattening), construction and operation, the potential for air pollutant reduction and carbon dioxide from increasing PV energy production as well as other relevant environmental impact is studied for various types of PV installations.

An Educational Simulation Tool for Integrated Coastal Tourism Development in Developing Countries

(Dr David Leblanc, UN DESA) 

Exploring environmental-economic feedback loops in coastal tourism development in a small island context with a simple simulation tool. In spite of the importance of coastal tourism for the economies of many developing countries, tourism infrastructure has often been developed without adequate consideration of long-term impacts on the environment, resulting in adverse impacts on other sectors of the economy and eventually causing the decline of the very resource on which tourism is based. The sustainable coastal tourism development training tool is an educational tool based on a generic model for integrated planning of coastal tourism infrastructure. The tool aims to address gaps in awareness and capacity for integrated decision-making and planning in tourism infrastructure development in a developing country context, and is especially relevant to small islands.

Model developed and other additional information is available here