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Developing a more efficient, environmentally friendly supply chain for renewable energy projects

MAR 29, 2024
Implementing circular economy principles into the design, manufacture, and construction of renewable energy projects leads to a cleaner, more sustainable energy transition.
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The world is increasingly looking to renewable energy sources as cleaner alternatives to fossil fuels. While employing wind turbines and solar panels may help avert some of the effects of climate change, designing, manufacturing, and installing these devices can produce their own waste. Many researchers are studying how to incorporate circular economy practices like recycling and refurbishing into renewable energy supply chains.

Arıöz et al. performed a systematic literature review of studies examining the application of circular economy concepts in renewable energy supply chains. They analyzed the state of current research and identified areas where more research is needed.

Unlike a linear economy, where goods are produced, used, and discarded, a circular economy seeks to minimize resource extraction and waste. This is accomplished through the so-called ‘10R’ objectives, which include the well-known ‘reduce, reuse, and recycle’ along with lesser-known, but perhaps more important, pillars such as refuse, rethink, repair, and repurpose.

“By incorporating circular economy concepts into renewable energy supply chains, organizations can enhance resource efficiency, reduce environmental impact, and contribute to a more sustainable energy transition,” said author Yağmur Arıöz.

The researchers performed a literature review using a systematically descriptive, bibliometric, and content analysis approach to map the scope of existing studies and identify areas that have been overlooked. They hope this work can guide the direction of future research.

“Lack of integration of digital solutions, limited focus on redesign and rethinking, early integration of design, and limited application of 10R circular economy objectives are trends and important issues that need more attention from researchers and practitioners,” said Arıöz.

Source: “Systematic literature review based on the descriptive, bibliometric, and content analysis of renewable energy supply chain for a circular economy,” by Yağmur Arıöz, Abdullah Yıldızbaşı, Eren Özceylan, and İbrahim Yılmaz, Journal of Renewable and Sustainable Energy (2024). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0184430 .

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