Mirjam Theelen is senior researcher at TNO, working on PV reliability and sustainability, In the MC2.0 project she focuses on Product Level Circularity Metric.
What’s your role in #mc2dot0?
Within MC2.0, I am focusing on the sustainability of integrated solar solutions. In general, the combination of functions has a positive impact on the environmental impact of products, since the same components are used for multiple goals. However, by making the right design and material choices, we can go for the best results for planet, people and profit. It is my role to assess which choices are the best from circularity point of view.
Can you tell us a bit more about PLCM and the importance of circularity?
For a truly sustainable world, we need to reuse materials at the end of product lifetime. And just as important: we need to retain their value – valuable materials should not be embedded as a foundation for the road, but should be integrated in new and high value high-tech products. Recycling, no downcycling!
Therefore, parties need to be stimulated to actually use reused content in their products. The Product Level Circularity Metric (PLCM) is a number that shows the value of reused content in a product. Such a number actually helps us in two ways: measurements will reveal where improvements can be reached, while companies with ‘good’ products can demonstrate this to the outside world. I expect that one day, such a number will be part of sustainability labelling, which can help people and organizations to make the best choices.
What makes the MC2.0 project so interesting?
Mass customization represents the best of two world: low cost mass scale production and product customization. This development is crucial for massive rollout of solar products, since they should be integrated in all available surfaces in a beautiful and efficient way.
Mass customization, however, is not simple: it requires involvement of the whole value chain. And this makes MC2.0 exciting: in this project, this whole value chain is on board: for example producers of solar panels, building materials and production equipment, but also research institutes, looking to both technical and societal aspects.
Together we will show that every surface in Europe can generate electricity!