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Life Cycle Analysis of a Geothermal Power Plant: Comparison of the Environmental Performance with Other Renewable Energy Systems

1
RES Lab, Department of Biotechnology, Chemistry and Pharmacy, University of Siena, 53100 Siena, Italy
2
Center for Colloid and Surface Science, 50019 Firenze, Italy
3
Enel Green Power, 56122 Pisa, Italy
4
Department of Industrial Engineering, University of Florence, 50135 Florence, Italy
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2020, 12(7), 2786; https://doi.org/10.3390/su12072786
Received: 25 February 2020 / Revised: 27 March 2020 / Accepted: 30 March 2020 / Published: 1 April 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainability of Geothermal Energy Conversion—Life Cycle Analysis)
A life cycle analysis was performed for the assessment of the environmental performances of three existing Italian power plants of comparable nominal power operating with different sources of renewable energy: Geothermal, solar, and wind. Primary data were used for building the life cycle inventories. The results are characterized by employing a wide portfolio of environmental indicators employing the ReCiPe 2016 and the ILCD 2011 Midpoint+ methods; normalization and weighting are also applied using the ReCiPe 2016 method at the endpoint level. The midpoint results demonstrate a good eco-profile of the geothermal power plant compared to other renewable energy systems and a definite step forward over the performance of the national energy mix. The Eco-Point single score calculation showed that wind energy is the best technology with a value of 0.0012 Eco-points/kWh, a result in line with previously documented life cycle analysis studies. Nevertheless, the geothermal power plant achieved a value of 0.0177 Eco-points/kWh which is close to that calculated for the photovoltaic plant (0.0087 Eco-points/kWh) and much lower than the national energy mix one (0.1240 Eco-points/kWh). Also, a scenario analysis allowed for a critical discussion about potential improvements to the environmental performance of the geothermal power plant. View Full-Text
Keywords: geothermal energy; life cycle analysis; solar energy; photovoltaics; renewable energy power plant; wind energy geothermal energy; life cycle analysis; solar energy; photovoltaics; renewable energy power plant; wind energy
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MDPI and ACS Style

Basosi, R.; Bonciani, R.; Frosali, D.; Manfrida, G.; Parisi, M.L.; Sansone, F. Life Cycle Analysis of a Geothermal Power Plant: Comparison of the Environmental Performance with Other Renewable Energy Systems. Sustainability 2020, 12, 2786.

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