A benchmark for life cycle air emissions and life cycle impact assessment of hydrokinetic energy extraction using life cycle assessment

Veronica B. Miller, Amy E. Landis, Laura A. Schaefer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

As the demand for renewable energy increases, it becomes important to critically examine the environmental impacts of renewable energy production. Often, the approach has been trial and error in renewable energy with respect to its impact on the environment. Hydrokinetic Energy Extraction (HEE) has been seen as a potentially "benign" form of renewable hydropower. This paper provides a benchmark for initial measurement of HEE environmental impacts, since negative outcomes have been present with previously assumed "benign" renewable hydropower. A Gorlov system was used to represent a HEE system. Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) was utilized to compare the environmental impacts of HEE with small hydropower, coal, natural gas and nuclear power. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) criteria air emissions were quantified and compared over the life cycle of the systems. Life cycle air emissions were used in combination with TRACI to compare the systems. The Gorlov system was found to have the lowest life cycle impact with a system lifetime comparison, and did compare closely with small hydropower.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1040-1046
Number of pages7
JournalRenewable Energy
Volume36
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2011

Keywords

  • Environmental measurement
  • Gorlov
  • Hydrokinetic energy extraction
  • Life cycle assessment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

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