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Issue 14, 2012
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Environmental assessment of electrically controlled variable light transmittance devices

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Abstract

A comprehensive benchmark analysis has been performed on five electrically controlled state-of-the-art transmittance modulation devices including their production routes, from ‘cradle-to-gate’. The benchmarks have been modeled employing the GaBi life cycle assessment software tool, which successfully yielded the most important environmental problem areas for the product life cycles of electrochromic and electrotropic light-modulating devices. In terms of the energy demand of processing, all-solid-state technology was found to be less favorable than wet-chemical electrodeposition processes; however, the effect is interestingly overcompensated for by the resource depletion resulting from higher layer thicknesses in the latter case. As opposed to the mineral-glass based benchmarks, a plastic-film based system was particularly favorable, implying that the substrate is a factor with a strong environmental impact in transmittance modulation devices. Eventually, very high impacts were found for tin-doped indium oxide (ITO) and iridium oxide, i.e. a common transparent conductor and anodic electrochromic material, respectively. The results obtained support important current trends such as in-line manufacturing of electrochromic devices, the quest for ITO replacement materials, and, in general, the replacement of energy- and resource-intensive processes (sputter deposition of heavy metal oxides) by less demanding methods.

Graphical abstract: Environmental assessment of electrically controlled variable light transmittance devices

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Publication details

The article was received on 25 Jan 2012, accepted on 16 Apr 2012 and first published on 18 Apr 2012


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C2RA20148H
Citation: RSC Adv., 2012,2, 5990-5996
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    Environmental assessment of electrically controlled variable light transmittance devices

    U. Posset, M. Harsch, A. Rougier, B. Herbig, G. Schottner and G. Sextl, RSC Adv., 2012, 2, 5990
    DOI: 10.1039/C2RA20148H

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