Organic Photovoltaic

Life-cycle Assessment of 3rd-Generation Organic Photovoltaic Systems: Developing a Framework for Studying the Benefits and Risks of Emerging Technologies

PhD Candidate: Michael Tsang (University of Bordeaux)
PhD Supervisors : Guido Sonnemann & Dario Bassani (NEO)
Period: November 2013 – November 2016

Michael is currently a 3rd-year PhD student working on the evaluation of the life-cycle impacts of organic photovoltaic solar cells. His work involves the use of life-cycle assessment to compare organic photovoltaic devices to conventional silicon ones, in order to identify the potential benefits and advantages to using this technology at large scales. Organic photovoltaics are currently in lab-scale and pilot-project scales, however they are perceived to have many advantages over conventional technology including being thinner, lighter, flexible, more versatile, easier to produce and requiring less amounts of materials during production and manufacture. Conversely, organic photovoltaics are known to have shorter lifetimes and lower conversion efficiencies compared with conventional photovoltaics. Thus, the core of Michael’s project aims at modeling all of this information into a prospective analysis of organic photovoltaics as they would be used at industrial scales for things such as energy procurement and/or in secondary devices such as portable chargers. In addition to this primary scope of work, some organic photovoltaics utilize engineered nanomaterials for their component parts. Engineered nanomaterials are those that have at least a single dimension at or below 100 nanometers. These materials have tremendous potential for both industrial and consumer applications, however there are concerns over their potential human health and environmental impacts. Thus, a secondary aim of Michael’s PhD is to study, model and analyze these potential (direct) impacts from engineered nanomaterials.

Michael’s work has culminated into two peer-reviewed publications (, ( with 3 others under review.