Fronius’ sustainability experts spent eight months analyzing the life cycle of the Fronius Tauro project inverter. Every step was examined, from the procurement of raw materials, through production and use, to disposal at the end of the product life cycle. Even the smallest aspects were carefully considered in incredible detail: “We evaluated 960 components with 5,050 parts and even etched components in sulfuric acid to be able to determine the weight of the semiconductors and gold elements inside even more precisely,” describes David Schönmayr, Project Manager R&D, Fronius International GmbH.
The 8,400 results in total were subsequently verified by the highly regarded IZM Fraunhofer institute in accordance with ISO 14040 and 14044. “This is scientifically-proven sustainability. We deal solely with facts, because we want to know how we are doing and incorporate these results into future products,” explains Schönmayr.
Schischke, from IZM Fraunhofer, is also convinced by the results: “A life cycle analysis is not an end in
itself, but should identify specific opportunities for improvement in the life
cycle. This is exactly what the life cycle analysis of the Tauro [...] has
achieved: the detailed analysis not only confirms the important positive
contribution of PV inverters for the green transformation of the energy sector,
but also identifies areas with potential for us to work on from the point of
view of climate protection and the circular economy.”
Life cycle analysis delivers outstanding results
The results are undeniably impressive: the payback time of the climate impact (CO2 payback time) – in other words, the time until the inverter becomes climate neutral – is between five months and two years, depending on usage. Fronius Tauro also performs impressively when it comes to energy payback. The project inverter needs less than one year (0.34 - 0.83 years) to produce more energy than was consumed during its manufacture. Furthermore, up to 223,097 kg CO2-e are saved by the Fronius Tauro, equivalent to up to 200 flights between Vienna and New York.
“This is one of the key differences between Fronius and other manufacturers. We set ourselves apart through end-to-end transparency when it comes to the sustainability of our products. We are industry pioneers, both in terms of depth of detail and consistency of the life cycle analysis. And, our aim is to have the systems with the best carbon footprint,” says Martin Hackl, Global Director Marketing & Sales Business Unit Solar Energy, Fronius International GmbH.
From recycled materials to repairability
“Our customers are increasingly asking for life cycle analysis results. They want to know how much recycled material is in their inverter and what the situation is regarding repairability,” reveals Martin Hackl.
The Fronius Tauro is completely and fully repairable. Almost every part can be replaced, which also has a positive impact on service life. If, for example, a power stage set is replaced after ten years, up to 150 kg of CO2 is emitted. With our competitors, the entire inverter would have to be replaced, resulting in many times more CO2 being released into the atmosphere. This unique power stage set replacement option provides the ultimate in convenience for Fronius customers while also being good for the environment.