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Open AccessArticle

Carbon Footprint Assessment of Four Normal Size Hydropower Stations in China

by Ting Jiang 1,2,3, Zhenzhong Shen 1,2,3, Yang Liu 4,5,6,* and Yiyang Hou 7
State Key Laboratory of Hydrology-Water Resources and Hydraulic Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
College of Water Conservancy and Hydropower Engineering, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
National Engineering Research Center of Water Resources Efficient Utilization and Engineering Safety, Hohai University, Nanjing 210098, China
Key Laboratory of Land Surface Pattern and Simulation, Institute of Geographical Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100101, China
College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Department of Geological Sciences, Jackson School of Geosciences, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Beijing No. 4 High School, Beijing 100034, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2018;
Received: 24 May 2018 / Revised: 8 June 2018 / Accepted: 12 June 2018 / Published: 14 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmental Life Cycle Assessment)
The emission of Greenhouse gases (GHG) during the life cycle of four hydropower stations with installed capacity from 95 MW to 500 MW are assessed by the integrated GHG reservoir tool developed by International Hydropower Association. Model inputs are extracted from multi-source geographic datasets and construction planning documents. Three main conclusions are summarized: (1) In pre- and post-impoundment stages, areal GHG emission balance in reservoir area depends on the climate background, humid subtropical regions are more active than arid temperate regions. In the construction stage, emissions from fill, concrete and equipment account for more than 70% of the total. (2) GHG intensity falls rapidly when lifetime increases from 10 to 40 years and then drops slightly when lifetime becomes longer, which is 13.60 tCO2e/GWh for 50 years and 8.13 tCO2e/GWh for 100 years on average. The emission rates of hydropower stations with lower installed capacity are obviously large if they work for less than 30 years and differ less with stations possessing a higher installed capacity when their lifetime approaches 100 years. (3) Comparing with electricity generated by coal in China whose GHG intensity is 822 tCO2e/GWh, hydroelectricity is almost 100 times more efficient and clean. Thus, hydropower station plays an important role in dealing with the global warming issue as a substitution for a fossil fuel power source. View Full-Text
Keywords: carbon footprint; life cycle assessment; hydropower station carbon footprint; life cycle assessment; hydropower station
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Jiang, T.; Shen, Z.; Liu, Y.; Hou, Y. Carbon Footprint Assessment of Four Normal Size Hydropower Stations in China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2018.

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