Meta-Analysis of Estimates of Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Concentrating Solar Power: Preprint

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In reviewing life cycle assessment (LCA) literature of utility-scale CSP systems, this analysis focuses on clarifying central tendency and reducing variability in estimates of life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a meta-analytical process called harmonization. From 125 references reviewed, 10 produced 36 independent GHG emission estimates passing screens for quality and relevance: 19 for parabolic trough technology and 17 for power tower technology. The interquartile range (IQR) of published GHG emission estimates was 83 and 20 g CO2eq/kWh for trough and tower, respectively, with medians of 26 and 38 g CO2eq/kWh. Two levels of harmonization were applied. Light harmonization ... continued below

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Heath, G. A. & Burkhardt, J. J. September 1, 2011.

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In reviewing life cycle assessment (LCA) literature of utility-scale CSP systems, this analysis focuses on clarifying central tendency and reducing variability in estimates of life cycle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through a meta-analytical process called harmonization. From 125 references reviewed, 10 produced 36 independent GHG emission estimates passing screens for quality and relevance: 19 for parabolic trough technology and 17 for power tower technology. The interquartile range (IQR) of published GHG emission estimates was 83 and 20 g CO2eq/kWh for trough and tower, respectively, with medians of 26 and 38 g CO2eq/kWh. Two levels of harmonization were applied. Light harmonization reduced variability in published estimates by using consistent values for key parameters pertaining to plant design and performance. Compared to the published estimates, IQR was reduced by 69% and median increased by 76% for troughs. IQR was reduced by 26% for towers, and median was reduced by 34%. A second level of harmonization was applied to five well-documented trough LC GHG emission estimates, harmonizing to consistent values for GHG emissions embodied in materials and from construction activities. As a result, their median was further reduced by 5%, while the range increased by 6%. In sum, harmonization clarified previous results.

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10 p.

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  • Presented at SolarPACES 2011, 20-23 September 2011, Granada, Spain

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  • Report No.: NREL/CP-6A20-52191
  • Grant Number: AC36-08GO28308
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 1026578
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc846683

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  • September 1, 2011

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  • May 19, 2016, 3:16 p.m.

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  • April 4, 2017, 12:58 p.m.

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Heath, G. A. & Burkhardt, J. J. Meta-Analysis of Estimates of Life Cycle Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Concentrating Solar Power: Preprint, article, September 1, 2011; Golden, Colorado. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc846683/: accessed October 15, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.