This book deals with the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to sustainable energy systems and technologies. It reviews the state-of-the-art of the Italian experiences on the LCA applied to energy, and the most recent results from research in this field, with a particular focus on renewables, bio-energy and sustainable solutions. The contributors describe in detail the applications of LCA to various energy system topics, including: • electricity production, smart energy grids and energy storage systems;• renewable energy production from biomass;• production of biodiesel from microalgae;• environmental impacts of biomass power plants; and• geothermal energy production. These topics are supported by critical reviews and case studies, with discussions of Italian examples, demonstrating LCA’s application to various energy systems. A particular focus is placed on bio-energies and bio-energy systems, demonstrating how LCA can be used for optimal bio-energy production. This book offers an opportunity for researchers and advanced practitioners in the field of LCA to learn more about the application of LCA methodology to energy systems and technologies. It will also be of interest to students, as it enables them to understand the environmental impacts of energy systems and sustainable energy technologies, through the analysis of their life cycles.
Energy and sustainability are two of the most important and often most misunderstood subjects in our world today. As these two subjects have grown in importance over the last few decades, interest in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) model has grown as well, as a potentially crucial tool in understanding and striving towards sustainability in energy systems. Not just wind and solar systems, but all energy systems, need to be understood through this model. Wind and solar power have the potential to decentralize the U.S. energy system by offering local communities electricity and economic support, depending on the scale and design of projects. Nevertheless, every energy technology potentially faces environmental costs, lay and expert opposition, and risks to public health. Engineers play a central role as designers, builders, and operators in energy systems. As they extend their expertise into electrical, mechanical and chemical fields, from fossil fuel-based systems to renewable energy systems, “sustainability” is steadily becoming one of the key criteria engineers apply in their work. This groundbreaking new study argues that engineering cultures foster sustainability by adopting assumptions and problem-solving practices as part of their identities when designing and building engineering projects. This work examines the politics of creating, utilizing, and modifying Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) in the construction of renewable energy systems. The only volume of its kind ever written, it is a must-have for any engineer, scientist, manager, or other professional working in or interested in Life Cycle Assessment and its relation to energy systems and impact on environmental and economic sustainability.
This Special Issue on “LCA of Energy Systems” contains inspiring contributions on assessing the sustainability of novel technologies destined to shape the future of our energy sector. These include battery-based and plug-in hybrid electric vehicles, geothermal energy, hydropower, biomass gasification, national electricity systems, and waste incineration. The analysis of trends and singularities will be invaluable to product designers, engineers, and policy makers. Furthermore, these exercises also contribute to refining the life cycle framework and harmonizing methodological decisions. Our hope is that this should be a step toward promoting the use of science and knowledge to shape a better world for everyone.
This book deals with the application of life cycle assessment (LCA) methodology to sustainable energy systems and technologies. It reviews the state-of-the-art of the Italian experiences on the LCA applied to energy, and the most recent results from research in this field, with a particular focus on renewables, bio-energy and sustainable solutions. The contributors describe in detail the applications of LCA to various energy system topics, including: • electricity production, smart energy grids and energy storage systems; • renewable energy production from biomass; • production of biodiesel from microalgae; • environmental impacts of biomass power plants; and • geothermal energy production. These topics are supported by critical reviews and case studies, with discussions of Italian examples, demonstrating LCA's application to various energy systems. A particular focus is placed on bio-energies and bio-energy systems, demonstrating how LCA can be used for optimal bio-energy production. This book offers an opportunity for researchers and advanced practitioners in the field of LCA to learn more about the application of LCA methodology to energy systems and technologies. It will also be of interest to students, as it enables them to understand the environmental impacts of energy systems and sustainable energy technologies, through the analysis of their life cycles.
Abstract Life Cycle Assessment of Energy Systems: Closing the Ethical Loophole of Social Sustainability by Nikolaos Sakellariou Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management University of California, Berkeley Professor Alastair T. Iles, Chair This dissertation investigates the historical and normative bases of what contemporary engineers consider to be the embodiment of sustainability: Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). It explores the interplay among technology ethics, energy systems, and how engineering cultures foster sustainability by adopting normative assumptions and problem-solving practices--particularly LCA--as part of their professional identities. Specifically, I provide a broad conceptual analysis of "sustainability engineering" in the US (1989-present) to unpack its history, epistemology and politics. I first show that the 1990's produced two distinct engineering ideologies of sustainability--one emphasizing engineering creativity and innovation, and the other emphasizing normative ethics and socio-cultural change. I find that the dialectic between sustainability and engineering has been defined largely by an ideology of technological change. I argue that engineering ideologies of sustainability not only affect how professionals imagine LCA as a medium of technological and environmental transformation, but also how they conceptualize sustainability as a vehicle to renegotiate engineering knowledge and identity in addressing some of the most pressing existential dilemmas facing their discipline. Next, I investigate the politics of engineering identity formation in relation to social, political, regulatory and community pressure to reshape the ethics and boundaries of LCA. I show that starting around 2000, a small group of engineers and, vitally, companies and consulting firms with an eye to addressing technology's "social impacts" have laid a basis for developing an interesting sustainability tool called Social Life Cycle Assessment (SLCA). SLCA, I argue, is an ideological hybrid where there are many spots of dissent and disagreement but also some surprising fundamental alignments between those who see engineering as technics and those who believe that engineering needs to be socially contextualized. SLCA attests to a messy, ongoing tussle between different viewpoints, where the dominant engineering ideology and culture begins to morph into a more open-ended approach. Finally, I focus on two case studies of sustainable energy system building--solar and wind project development in California's West Antelope Valley (WAV)--to understand in more detail the politics and ethics of LCA in energy systems. I describe how LCA became embedded in narratives and decision-making concerning renewable energy in the US--in their design, as well as in their regulatory, economic and environmental planning. California's inaugural utility scale solar and wind projects were trumpeted as conforming to principles derived from LCA. At one level, I show, the siting of solar PV projects in the WAV was predicated on a mechanism linking legitimacy and life cycle thinking. At another level, along with projects' contentious permitting and pre-construction phases, the interrelated questions of legitimacy and sustainability emerged from the LCA shadows and became central issues in rural renewable energy project development. I explore the tensions between technical expert and lay expert knowledges that swirl around the deployment of LCAs in solar project development and I argue that LCAs enabled disembodied and context-less decision-making. Seen through my ethnography in the WAV, I present material on the internecine politics of renewable energy project development that took place locally and at the Los Angeles County level--a local-regional scale perspective that is often not seen in the literature. I describe how the fractured relationships between stakeholders and the disparity between rural and urban mechanisms of governance facilitated the diminishing fairness and participatory democracy in renewable energy project dispute resolution.
Life-cycle assessment of new energy solutions plays an important role in discussions about global warming mitigation options and the evaluation of concrete energy production and conversion installations. This book starts by describing the methodology of life-cycle analysis and life-cycle assessment of new energy solutions. It then goes on to cover, in detail, a range of applications to individual energy installations, national supply systems, and to the global energy system in a climate impact context. Coverage is not limited to issues related to commercial uses by consultants according to ISO norms. It also emphasizes life-cycle studies as an open-ended scientific discipline embracing economic issues of cost, employment, equity, foreign trade balances, ecological sustainability, and a range of geo-political and social issues. A wealth of applications are described and a discussion on the results obtained in each study is included. Example areas are fossil and nuclear power plants, renewable energy systems, and systems based on hydrogen or batteries as energy carriers. The analysis is continued to the end-users of energy, where energy use in transportation, industry and home are scrutinized for their life-cycle impacts. Biofuel production and the combustion of firewood in home fireplaces and stoves are amongst the issues discussed. A central theme of the book is global warming. The impacts of greenhouse gas emissions are meticulously mapped at a depth far beyond that of the IPCC reports. A novel and surprising finding is that more lives will be saved than lost as a direct consequence of a warmer climate. After a 2oC increase in temperature, the reduction in death rates in areas with cold winters would outweigh the increase in the death rates in hot climates. However, this is only one of several impacts from greenhouse gases, and the remaining ones are still overwhelmingly negative. The fact that some population groups may benefit from higher temperatures (notably the ones most responsible for greenhouse gas emissions) whilst others (who did not contribute much to the problem) suffer is one of the main points of the book. The book is suitable as a university textbook and as a reference source for engineers, managers and public bodies responsible for planning and licensing.
The transition towards renewable energy sources and “green” technologies for energy generation and storage is expected to mitigate the climate emergency in the coming years. However, in many cases, this progress has been hampered by our dependency on critical materials or other resources that are often processed at high environmental burdens. Yet, many studies have shown that environmental and energy issues are strictly interconnected and require a comprehensive understanding of resource management strategies and their implications. Life cycle assessment (LCA) is among the most inclusive analytical techniques to analyze sustainability benefits and trade-offs within complex systems and, in this Special Issue, it is applied to assess the mutual influences of environmental and energy dimensions. The selection of original articles, reviews, and case studies addressed covers some of the main driving applications for energy requirements and greenhouse gas emissions, including power generation, bioenergy, biorefinery, building, and transportation. An insightful perspective on the current topics and technologies, and emerging research needs, is provided. Alone or in combination with integrative methodologies, LCA can be of pivotal importance and constitute the scientific foundation on which a full system understanding can be reached.
The book discusses a multi-objective optimization approach in LCA that allows the flexible construction of comprehensive Pareto fronts to help understand the weightings and relative importance of its elements. The methodology is applied to the pertinent topics of thermochemical wood conversion, deep geothermal energy, and regional energy planning.
The overall energy sector calls for a transformation from a fossil-based system to a low-carbon one. At a technology level, significant efforts have been made to provide energy solutions that contribute to a sustainable energy system. However, the actual suitability of these solutions is often not checked. In this sense, the assessment of energy systems from a life-cycle perspective is of paramount importance when it comes to effectively planning the energy sector. While environmental issues are commonly addressed through the use of the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology, the comprehensive evaluation of the economic and social aspects of energy systems often remains ignored or underdeveloped. This book consists of a set of scientific works addressing the analysis of energy systems from a (life-cycle) technical, economic, environmental and/or social standpoint. Case studies at and beyond the technology level are included, some of them involving a combination of life cycle and non-life cycle approaches for the thorough evaluation of energy systems under the umbrella of sustainability.
Fukushima Nuclear Disaster, Japan, 2011 by World Energy Council
Comment l'évaluation du cycle de vie peut être utilisée pour déterminer le coût économique et environnemental de l'établissement de processus d'énergie renouvelable ? L. Gerber décrit comment en intégrant les facteurs environnementaux, les considérations énergétiques et les coûts économiques, une optimisation multi-objectif peut contribuer à résoudre ce problème.
Energy consumption by Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
The main aim of Renewable Energies is to provide an overview of the environmental impact of the different renewable energy systems, enabling readers to understand the environmental impact of electricity production, through the analysis of different generation sources over their life cycle. This means the book covers the real impact of each source of electrical generation from the extraction of materials to permit completion of the installation (solar panels, wind turbines, etc.), until finally (once the productive lifespan of the facility is over) it is dismantled and its components are sent to a landfill, recycled, reused, etc. This analysis uses the technique of life cycle assessment (LCA), allows the authors to obtain graphically and numerically the different impacts associated with each facility. It permits comparison of the different systems studied, showing the environmental advantages and disadvantages of each one of these systems. Furthermore, these systems of power generation from renewable sources can be compared to traditional systems of electrical power (fossil fuels, hydraulic, nuclear) giving a fairer evaluation, in terms of financial and environmental cost, of each one of these systems.
Governments are setting challenging targets to increase the production of energy and transport fuel from sustainable sources. The emphasis is increasingly on renewable sources including wind, solar, geothermal, biomass based biofuel, photovoltaics or energy recovery from waste. What are the environmental consequences of adopting these other sources? How do these various sources compare to each other? Life Cycle Assessment of Renewable Energy Sources tries to answer these questions based on the universally adopted method of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA). This book introduces the concept and importance of LCA in the framework of renewable energy sources and discusses the key issues in conducting their LCA. This is followed by an in-depth discussion of LCA for some of the most common bioenergy sources such as agricultural production systems for biogas and bioethanol, biogas from grass, biodiesel from palm oil, biodiesel from used cooking oil and animal fat, Jatropha biodiesel, lignocellulosic bioethanol, ethanol from cassava and sugarcane molasses, residential photovoltaic systems, wind energy, microalgal biodiesel, biohydrogen and biomethane. Through real examples, the versatility of LCA is well emphasized. Written by experts all over the globe, the book is a cornucopia of information on LCA of bioenergy systems and provides a platform for stimulation of new ideas and thoughts. The book is targeted at practitioners of LCA and will become a useful tool for researchers working on different aspects of bioenergy.
In recent years, the concept of energy has been revised and a new model based on the principle of sustainability has become more and more pervasive. The appraisal of energy technologies and projects is complex and uncertain as the related decision making has to encompass environmental, technical, economic and social factors and information sources. The scientific procedure of assessment has a vital role as it can supply the right tools to evaluate the actual situation and make realistic forecasts of the effects and outcomes of any actions undertaken. Assessment and Simulation Tools for Sustainable Energy Systems offers reviews of the main assessment and simulation methods used for effective energy assessment. Divided across three sections, Assessment and Simulation Tools for Sustainable Energy Systems develops the reader’s ability to select suitable tools to support decision making and implementation of sustainable energy projects. The first is dedicated to the analysis of theoretical foundations and applications of multi-criteria decision making. This is followed by chapters concentrating on the theory and practice of fuzzy inference, neural nets and algorithms genetics. Finally, simulation methods such as Monte Carlo analysis, mathematical programming and others are detailed. This comprehensive illustration of these tools and their application makes Assessment and Simulation Tools for Sustainable Energy Systems a key guide for researchers, scientists, managers, politicians and industry professionals developing the field of sustainable energy systems. It may also prompt further advancements in soft computing and simulation issues for students and researchers.
Life Cycle Assessment for Sustainable Mining addresses sustainable mining issues based on life cycle assessment, providing a thorough guide to implementing LCAs using sustainability metrics. The book details current research on LCA methodologies related to mining, their outcomes, and how to relate sustainable mining concepts in a circular economy. It is an in-depth, foundational reference for developing ideas for technological advancement through designing reduced-emission mining equipment or processes. It includes literature reviews and theoretical concepts of life cycle assessments applied in mining industries, sustainability metrics and problems related to mining and mineral processing industries identified by the life cycle assessment results. This book will aid researchers, students and academics in the field of environmental science, mining engineering and sustainability to see LCA technology outcomes which would be useful for the future development of environmentally-friendly mining processes. Details state-of-the-art life cycle assessment theory and practices applied in the mining and mineral processing industries Includes in-depth, practical case studies outlined with life cycle assessment results to show future pathways for sustainability enhancement Provides fundamental knowledge on how to measure sustainability metrics using life cycle assessment in mining industries
Life cycle assessment enables the identification of a broad range of potential environmental impacts occurring across the entire life of a product, from its design through to its eventual disposal or reuse. The need for life cycle assessment to inform environmental design within the built environment is critical, due to the complex range of materials and processes required to construct and manage our buildings and infrastructure systems. After outlining the framework for life cycle assessment, this book uses a range of case studies to demonstrate the innovative input-output-based hybrid approach for compiling a life cycle inventory. This approach enables a comprehensive analysis of a broad range of resource requirements and environmental outputs so that the potential environmental impacts of a building or infrastructure system can be ascertained. These case studies cover a range of elements that are part of the built environment, including a residential building, a commercial office building and a wind turbine, as well as individual building components such as a residential-scale photovoltaic system. Comprehensively introducing and demonstrating the uses and benefits of life cycle assessment for built environment projects, this book will show you how to assess the environmental performance of your clients’ projects, to compare design options across their entire life and to identify opportunities for improving environmental performance.