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Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management
Dmitry Kovalevsky (editor), Jiazhong Zhang(editor)
Dmitry Kovalevsky (editor)

Climate Service Center Germany (GERICS), Helmholtz-Zentrum Hereon, Fischertwiete 1, 20095 Hamburg, Germany

Fax: +49 (0) 40 226338163 Email: dmitry.v.kovalevsky@gmail.com

Jiazhong Zhang (editor)

School of Energy and Power Engineering, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province 710049, China

Fax: +86 29 82668723 Email: jzzhang@mail.xjtu.edu.cn


Life Cycle Assessment and Circular Economy: A Case Study of a Photovoltaic Solar Panel in Brazil

Journal of Environmental Accounting and Management 10(1) (2022) 91--111 | DOI:10.5890/JEAM.2022.03.008

Marcell M. C. Maceno$^1$ , Tha '{ i}sa L. Pilz$^{2}$, Daniel R. Oliveira$^{1}$

$^{1}$ Department of Production Engineering, Federal University of Paran\'{a}, Polytechnic Centre, Francisco H. dos Santos Street 210, Jardim das Am\'{e}ricas, Curitiba, Paran\'{a}, Postal code 81530-000, Brazil

$^{2}$ Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering, Technological Federal University of Paran\'{a} -- Paran\'{a}, Deputado Heitor Alencar Furtado Street 5000, Ecoville, Curitiba, Paran\'{a}, Postal code 81280-340, Brazil

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Abstract

In Different from the linear economy, which traditionally considers any waste as garbage, the circular economy recognize waste as a valuable material potentially useful as a resource. This thinking is the main principle of the Circular Economy, a production model that attempts to counterbalance the traditional linear economy recommending a more sustainable model. Thus, we aim to evaluate the circularity, using Circular Economy Toolkit, Circular Economy Indicator Prototype, and Material Circularity Indicator and calculate the environmental impact through the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) for a 1st Generation Photovoltaic Solar Panel (PSP) manufactured in Brazil. For applying the three CE tools and the LCA, the PSP composition was raised weighing the product parts. Besides this, we used a technical data sheet of the manufacturer to complement the data. In this context, a Brazilian scenario was elaborated in which all raw materials for the PSP assembly were virgin materials. For the PSP destination parts, 83% was recycled, and 17% was sent to landfills. The Circular Economy Toolkit results indicated a great potential for improvement in the preservation or repair, in the reform or remanufacturing, and in developing the product as a service. For the Circular Economy Indicator Prototype and Material Circularity Indicator, the circularity percentage obtained for each tool was 57.2% and 44.32%, respectively. Finally, the LCA has shown a positive environmental impact due to the generation of localized energy. This result is higher than the negative impact of the assembly and destination processes. In conclusion, LCA proved to be an essential technique to guide the actions toward a circular economy since the same product can simultaneously present excellent environmental performance results and a low degree of circularity.

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