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Durham University

Durham Energy Institute

Sustainable futures for solar and battery systems - Developing whole systems approaches to recycling and waste

A UKERC funded network

Network lead: Dr.Britta Turner (Department of Anthropology)

The Sustainable Futures for Solar and Battery Systems project is a Durham-led 6 months networking initiative supported by UKERC’s Whole Systems Networking Fund. It aims to bring together new voices from across the disciplinary and sectoral spectrum to discuss current and future scenarios for end of life management of solar and battery wastes, and develop appropriate future interdisciplinary and international research questions and whole systems approaches around them.

Off-grid solar PV and battery storage solutions have become a dominant feature in the global agendas of energy access and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Until recently the main focus has been on diffusion – the task of enabling off-grid solar solutions to provide access to energy for more people and communities. But there is now increasing awareness that off-grid solar solutions have limited life-span and that the sustainability of their deployment depends on the ability to develop bespoke reuse, recycling and waste management strategies for them.

Focused around 3 workshops to be held at Strathmore Energy Centre in Kenya, Kota University in India and Durham University, this project will bring together international researchers and practitioners engaged at all stages across the lifecycle of solar and battery wastes. It will address both material and social aspects of the challenge of end of life off-grid solar solutions, and will cover issues including (but not limited to):

  • Current and future repair, reuse and recycling infrastructures and strategies
  • Formal and informal economies of solar and battery wastes
  • Sustainable recycling and resource recovery
  • Global value chains
  • International governance frameworks
  • Supply and Value chains
  • Circular economies

For more information or expressions of interest please contact Dr.Britta Turner at the Department of Anthropology